After receiving a late scare, Indian women’s hockey team booked their berth for the Tokyo Olympics after defeating the United States 6-5 in the qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
The USA made a stunning return amid dramatic circumstances by scoring four goals in the second leg’s first half to level the scores 5-5.
And just as the game looked set for a shootout, the hosts returned back in the contest.
Our girls are going to Tokyo! ???
The Indian women’s hockey ? team have qualifed for #Tokyo2020 Olympics after a nail biting 2nd leg match against the US, winning on aggregate 6-5!
Many many congratulations, ladies!
??✈️??#INDvUSA #OlympicQualifier#TeamIndia #RoadToTokyo pic.twitter.com/ZjOvPpwScF
— Mumbai 2032 (@Mumbai2032) November 2, 2019
Searching for the winning, the high-line USA was caught on a counter-attack by the Indians in the 49th minute. The defence scrambled and was unable to clear their lines. Captain Rani Rampal cropped up out of nowhere to score the ever-crucial goal, making the scores 6-5. And with the strike, she also sent the Indians to next year’s global showpiece event.
The strike brought life in the Kalinga crowd, with the Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik and IOA chairman Narinder Batra celebrating amongst the stands. The Indians saw off the rest of the 10 minutes to ensure the victory. In the first leg, the Women in Blue had humbled the USA 5-1.
However, the home team was taken by surprise by the visitors’ attacking gameplay in the first-half.
Team India's dominance over Russia in Q1 got us like…..
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 2, 2019
And India’s hockey girls qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics after a nail biting 2nd leg match against US, winning on aggregate 6-5. Congratulations to India’s women’s hockey team! #Olympicqualifier
— Minhaz Merchant (@MinhazMerchant) November 2, 2019
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) November 2, 2019
Well played! Congratulate @TheHockeyIndia Women's Team on qualifying for #Tokyo2020 in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha. The nation is very proud of what you have achieved here at the Kalinga Stadium. #RoadToTokyo #OdishaForSports
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) November 2, 2019
Congratulations to the Indian women's hockey team on qualifying for #Tokyo2020
For the first time, the Indian women's team will make back-to-back Olympic appearance.#FIHOlympicQualifiers pic.twitter.com/nPbea7zkOw
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) November 2, 2019
— Dr Hitesh Chaudhari (@Hiteshchaudhari) November 2, 2019
Experienced Lalit Upadhya nailed the equaliser in the beginning of the second quarter Vs Russia 1-1 in the second match of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier at Kalinga Stadium @Siba_TNIE @NewIndianXpress @ @
— Tanmay Das (@tanmay__das) November 2, 2019