World champions Germany got off to a dream start in their Olympic men's field hockey campaign by thwarting a spirited Pakistan fight-back to open with a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Sunday.
Germany, with high hopes of a gold medal, ran up a 2-0 lead by half-time, going ahead in the seventh minute when Björn Emmerling found the target from a narrow angle near the left flank. Björn Michel increased the lead four minutes before the interval when he pushed in a pass from Christoph Eimer.
But Pakistan, lifted by some 5,000 supporters at the Helliniko stadium, hit back hard in the second session of a fast-paced encounter. Rehan Butt eventually got a goal back for Pakistan after numerous waves of attacks on the German goal and two missed penalty corners. It was Germany's fifth successive win over Pakistan, including a 6-0 rout in their last encounter in Amsterdam in June.
South Korea, Spain, Britain and Egypt are the other teams in group A, from which the top two will advance to the semi-finals.