India's Rupinder Pal Singh, right, fights for the ball with Ireland's Peter Caruth. Singh scored two goals in India's 3-2 victory on Saturday. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Rupinder Pal Singh helped India get off to a good start in its quest to recapture its Olympic field hockey glory.
Singh scored two goals to help India defeat Ireland 3-2 on Saturday in its opening match at the 2016 Games. It was India's first win in an Olympic match since 2004.
India leads all nations with eight gold medals. The squad won all six golds from 1928 to 1956, and last medaled in 1980, when it captured gold in Moscow.
After finishing seventh at the 2004 Games, India did not qualify in 2008, then lost all six matches and was outscored 21-8 in 2012.
In Saturday’s match, Singh's goals gave India a 3-1 lead. Ireland’s Conor Harte scored in the 56th minute before India held on.
India successfully attacked Ireland goalkeeper David Harte, the International Hockey Federation’s 2015 goalkeeper of the year. Harte gave up three goals in seven shots on goal.