(Image source from: www.hindustantimes.com)
Following the first FIH qualifier round, India was in the lead against US Women’s hockey team with the score of 5-1. While everyone around thought it would be easier for the Indian team to seal their position in the Tokyo Olympics, the second qualifier round was not at all in their favour.
But, captain and skipper Rani Rampal saved the day with her 48th minute striker, helping the Indian team secure their entry to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The Indian team lose in the second of the matches of the FIH qualifier by 1-4 but won their entry to the Olympics with the overall score of 6-5 against the US team.
Following the marvelous game that the Indian team played on the first day with a score of 5-1, it was believed that they wouldn’t have to worry about the next leg of the qualifier match but the US team had something else in store. They gave a downright scare when they scored 4 goals and India had none. Things changed in the last few minutes of the game and India did secure their place in the upcoming Olympics.
On November 2nd, the Indian team did look pale in their presence which is exactly what the US team took advantage of, breaking the team down in the first two quarters of the game by scoring four goals. The three players involved in scoring the goals included Amanda Magadan, Kathleen Sharkey and Alyssa Parker.
Following the defeat in the first qualifier, the American girls meant business when they hit the pitch the next day. The Indian team found it difficult to handle the consistent attacks from the American team and found it quite difficult to keep the control on the ball.
The start for the US team kickstarted along with the penalty corners that they secured two back to back penalty shootouts a few minutes into the game. But the team did fail to secure the goals both the times. The fifth minute of the game was when the US team started talking and secured their very first goal of the second qualifier.
The US team seemed adamant to not give up the chance of winning without a fair fight and thus ended up securing their second goal during the 13th minute into the game. They kept going around with the same zeal, then finally securing their next goal five minutes into the second quarter of the game.
The Indian team also had their chances at penalty corners back to back but couldn’t secure a goal during those chances. Following the stress, Navneet Kaur was also shown an yellow card which Amanda Magadan took advantage of and then secured the fourth goal of the day for the US team.
It was during the last quarter of the game that the Indian team was found to come back into shape but the US team’s defence was completely on point. With the consistent chances at securing the goals, the aggregate of both the teams during the second qualifier was at a tie of 5-5. Indian team again secured themselves a penalty corner but even that chance was missed out.
But, the captain of the Indian Women’s hockey team, Rani Rampal was adamant on making it through for the team and scored the winning goal at the 48th minute mark and finally getting the team through to the Tokyo Olympics with a score of 6-5 against US.
By Somapika Dutta