Team GB got off to the best possible start in the Olympic men’s hockey event with a 3-1 victory over South Africa at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
Goals from Sam Ward, Liam Ansell and Jack Waller secured the win for Danny Kerry’s team, who now face Canada on Monday in their next Pool B match.
Ward’s goal after just two minutes gave Team GB an early lead through a penalty corner, and was mobbed by team-mates after scoring.
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The 30-year-old was hit directly in the face by a ball during an Olympic qualifier in 2019, causing severe damage and near blindness in the eye.
Making an incredible return to the sport last month, he now plays in a protective face mask.
The lead was short-lived though as South Africa levelled just minutes later when Matthew Guise-Brown scored, also via a penalty corner.
The scoreline remained level heading into the final third, despite a South African sin bin giving the Britons a man advantage in the closing stages before half-time.
But Team GB flew out the blocks after the restart, just as they did the first third, Liam Ansell slotting home a rebound to give his side the lead.
A nervy period ensued before the game was put beyond any doubt five minutes from time, Peabo Lembethe inadvertently putting it past his own goalkeeper for 3-1.
The South Africans have just one night’s rest before they face the Netherlands in their next match tomorrow.
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