Sardar Singh Hockey
Indian men's team defeated Wales in their opening fixture of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.Hockey India

India men's hockey team defeated a spirited Wales 3-1 in their Commonwealth Games opening fixture at the Glasgow National Hockey Center on Friday.

As expected the Welsh defence created a lot of problems for the Indian team and they had to dig deep to register a win over an opponent ranked 22 places below them in the FIH World Rankings.

India went into the contest as favourites but they looked completely off colour in the opening half as Wales competed kept up with them. Rupinder Pal Singh got a scoring opportunity in the fifth minute but his drag flick hit the cross bar.

Wales' goalkeeper David Kettle made a brilliant save minutes later, when striker Akashdeep Singh tried a close-ranger. Wales maintained their composure and kept the Indian strikers at bay in the first 20 minutes.

India finally managed to break the deadlock in the 20th minute, when dragflicker VR Raghunath made no mistake in striking the first goal. India's joy was short-lived as Wales levellled the match three minutes later.

Andrew Cornick scored the equaliser in the 23rd minute to stun a few Indian supporters present at the stadium. Wales made slow progress but made a number of counterattacks in the final few minutes of the first half to put India under pressure.

After a far from impressive performance in the first 35 minutes, the Sardar Singh-led side came out with a lot more intent in the second half and surged ahead in the contest when Rupinder Pal scored in the 42nd minute off a penalty corner.

India played a much better second half as their midfield and forward line mingled well and continuously posed a lot of threat to the Wales defence. Gurvinder Singh Chandi, who is making a comeback to the Indian team, scored a goal in the 47th minute to seal the victory.

The Indian team, which finished runners-up in Delhi last time, snatched full points from the tie and will face Scotland in the second match before locking horns with defending champions Australia and then South Africa.

Earlier, on Day 1 of CWG 2014, Indian eves got off to a winning start as they defeated Canada 4-2 in their opening Group A fixture.

India opened the scoring through Rani Rampal in the 21st minute off a beautiful cross from Vandana Kataria, who tore the Canadian defence apart with a brilliant run down the right flank.

Canada bounced back immediately and equalised three minutes later through B Stairs. However, Poonam Rani converted a penalty corner in the 28th minute and Jaspreet Kaur scored in the 39th minute to make it 3-1.

Canada narrowed the deficit, when K Johansen scored in the 44th minute but Jaspreet sealed the match in the 52nd minute.

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