03-11-201903-11-2019 09:36:29 IST
2019-11-03T04:06:29.819Z03-11-2019 2019-11-03T04:06:25.809Z - - 19-11-2019
Indian women created history as they qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. Indian women despite losing to USA 1-4 sealed their berth by the virtue of a 6-5 aggregate against the team USA.
The solitary goal, scored by skipper Rani Rampal in the 48th minute, was crucial as it broke the deadlock and helped India clinch the qualifier 6-5 on aggregate, leaving the United States, who played their hearts out on Saturday, devastated. The Americans were a transformed lot in the second match and it was only an opportunistic goal off a superb buildup by India with 10 minutes to go that ended their hopes of qualifying for the Olympics.
India will now play in their second successive Olympics, and third overall, having figured in the 1980 Moscow Games where women’s hockey made its debut.
"There was pressure on the girls and the only thing you can do (in such a situation) on the pitch is run, because if you are running, you are not thinking of winning or losing. So, I had to do something to get the pressure off and that something worked for us and it also put USA under pressure. They made more mistakes and that was the time we thought we could turn the match our way," said Indian coach Sjored Marijne said.
USA coach Janneke Schopman blamed the yellow card for taking away the momentum from her team. “I think at the whistle, her (Manley) stick was full on the ground and she did not make a sweeping movement, so for me I don’t believe it was a yellow card. I don’t think it was even a green card. That is why I felt sorry for Manley. She had a very good match and now she knows she has let the team down in a way."
India capitalised on those lucky breaks, held their nerve in the last 10 minutes and, despite some desperate attacks, did not allow USA to equalise and force the qualifiers into a shootout.
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