Indian women, men seal Tokyo 2020 Olympics hockey berths

Indian women's hockey team edged out USA 6-5 in a thriller to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, while Indian men made light work of Russia to win 11-3 on aggregate.

Indian men's team won by 4-2 in the first leg against Russia, but the job is half done.   -  Biswaranjan rout

Hello and welcome to our LIVE  blog of Saturday's Hockey Olympic Qualifiers second leg matches at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.

 

FULL-TIME: INDIA 7-1 RUSSIA (Aggregate: India 11-3 Russia)

Trailing 2-4 from the first leg, Russia started the match brilliantly by scoring in the first minute. However, normal service resumed as goals from Lalit Upadhyay and Akashdeep Singh made it 2-1 for India. Rupinder Pal Singh chipped in with a brace, while Nilakanta Sharma, Amit Rohidas also got on the score sheet as India qualified for Tokyo 2020 in style. It is good news for Indian hockey fans as the women's team too qualified by beating USA 6-5 on aggregate.

Q4

60' PC for India and that's 11-3 on aggregate! Amit Rohidas steps up for the final hit of the match and smashes home a dragflick to top off a 7-1 win in the second-leg for India.

59' GOAL INDIA! Rupinder Pal makes it 10-3 on aggregate. The dragflicker's second goal of the match is the cherry on the top for India. Just one more minute until India's Olympic qualification is confirmed.

58' Simranjeet does well to track back into his own defensive half and dispossesses his marker before a shot is taken.

55' Russia goes on a counter after Mandeep loiters on the ball near the baseline, but Harmanpreet gets back the possession outside the circle.

53' PC for India! Harmanpreet has a second go at Gafarov in within seconds from trying a field goal. However, but the Russian stop-stopper comes out on top yet again with a fine save.

53' Harmanpreet beats the Russian defence and only has the goalkeeper, but his scoop is read well by Gafarov who swats it away.

51' There is only way this match is going. Russia has been trying to find some opening but most of its passes are directly at the Indian defenders.

48' PC for India and Rupinder Scores! Rupinder Pal Singh joins the party as he finds the centre of the net with a fine dragflick through Marat Gafarov's legs.

47' GOAL INDIA!  Nilakanta Sharma gets on the edge of the circle and smashes it into the roof of the net. India goes 8-3 on aggregate.

Q3

45' Ramandeep misses a sitter as he hits over the bar from close range. India is looking comfortable in possession while its passing has improved. However, it is still wasteful in converting the good chances that Russia is presenting the host.

43' S.V. Sunil wins the ball back near just outside the 23 metres line and races down the right flank. He finds Mandeep who has his back towards the goal, but fails to gather the ball before pulling the trigger.

41' Vivek Prasad get to the baseline and tries to lay it off for Mandeep, but Russian goalkeeper Marat Gafarov closes down the angle quickly.

39' Chances are coming thick and fast for India. Ramandeep hits one on the bounce but overhits the ball. Simranjeet rolls the ball into a big chuck of free space on top of the circle but the Manpreet is unable to get there in time.

38' Lalit puts Akashdeep through on the right side as the forwards cuts it back towards Lalit who makes the run at the left post. However, he is unable to get hold of the ball.

35' Chance for Russia! Alexander Skiperskiy finds himself in a good position on the left side of the circle as he unleashes a tomohauk at the far post. However, there is too much elevation on it and the ball sails safely over the post.

33' Chance! Simranjeet does well to get inside the circle and passes it Mandeep who wastes too much time ball as the Russians close down the forward.

31' The second-half begins! India is down to 10 men as Hardik Singh received a yellow card in the 28th minute for a brash challenge. He will be out until the 33rd minute.

HALF-TIME: INDIA 3-1 RUSSIA (Aggregate: India 7-3 Russia)

Q2

29' GOAL INDIA! Gurinder finds a pass to Akashdeep racing towards the baseline. The forward does brilliantly to find at the far post on the run from a tight angle. A second for Akashdeep and India goes 7-3 on aggregate.

28' Skipper misses one! Mandeep takes out the entire Russian defence with a cheeky chipped pass with Manpreet lurking at the near post. However, the Indian captain asks for a referral anticipating a penalty corner. The TV umpire thinks there was a stick when Mandeep hit the reverse pass and India loses its referral.

26' Close! Surender Kumar crosses from the left corner as Ramandeep leaps into the air to get the ball. He misses the ball by inches and Russia breathes easy.

23' GOAL INDIA! Akashdeep makes it 6-3 on aggregate for India as India wins a penalty corner. Harmanpreet's dragflick is saved by the runner, but Akashdeep pounces on the loose ball and finds the back of the net.

22' Close! Lalit charges down the left flank as he finds Akashdeep inside the circle who lays it back to Lalit who goes for the far post and misses it by inches.

21' India's tempo has been similar to that of the first leg. Though its leads Russia by two goals on the aggregate, its yet to stamp its authority on the tie as expected from a top-ranked team.

20' Akashdeep receives the ball on the left of the circle as he tries to find Mandeep on the overlap. However, the Russians get back the ball to hit the host on counter.

17' GOAL INDIA! Lalit Upadhyay pullls India level. Manpreet sweeps a pass from outside the circle to Hardik who takes a shot at the far post which is deflected into the net by Lalit. Aggregate: India 5-3 Russia

16' Another mistrap from Ramandeep gets a free-out for Russia. India needs clinical passing to keep the pressure on the Russians.

Q1

15' Ramandeep puts Nilakanta Sharma through to the goal, but the midfielder is unable to latch on to the weighted pass from the veteran forward as the first quarter comes to an end.

13' Close! Simranjeet wastes a golden opportunity after getting into a one-on-one position with the Russian goalkeeper. Rather than going for the goal, he spins around as the Russian defenders surround him. The forward finally pulls the trigger but skies the ball high over the goalpost.

11' Harmanpreet races to the baseline and cuts it back to Mandeep who turns back to allow the Russian defence to take the ball off him. Similar type of play has plagued India during the Series Finals in June but thanks to weaker oppositions India was not punished.

9' Akashdeep Singh tries to get around his marker near the half-line, but is unable get hold of the ball as India goes back to building from the back.

7' PC for India! Harmanpreet Singh stands over the corner, but a mistrapping on the edge of the circle gives the Russians enough time to pack the circle with bodies and clear the danger.

6' Manpreet gets on the ball outside the 23 metre line and takes a hit which runs into the goal. However, there was no touch from an Indian stick inside the circle and India trails in the second leg.

4' The Kalinga Stadium has gone silent. The women's match had enough drama but this is nerve-wracking. India gets into the circle quickly but is unable to conjure up anything meaningful.

1' GOAL RUSSIA! What an incredible start to the match! Russia makes it count with the first circle entry of the match as Alexey Sobolevskiy receives a cut back on the left side and rifles it into the far post. Aggregate India 4-3 Russia.

1' Push-back! Here we go!

* The players out on the pitch for the national anthems...

* World no 17 Pakistan held world no 3 Netherlands to a 4-4 draw in the first leg last week in Amsterdam. However, the Green Shirts did not have much left in the tank for the second leg as the Dutch hammered them 6-1 to qualify for the Olympics with an aggregate of 10-5. It could be a similar tactic India might be using here against Russia, the worst ranked team in the Olympic Qualifiers. Though the two-goal lead is not substantial, India might have been saving its energy for the second leg.

* Here are the men's hockey teams which have qualified for Tokyo 2020 :

 

* Indian men's hockey team was not at its best against world no 19 Russia in the first leg, but managed to outscore the Europeans 4-2. Manpreet Singh and co need to up their game in the second leg if they need to avoid complications as a 2-0 win for Russia in the second-leg could push the match to a shootout where the team has not done well in the past few instances. Here are the best moments from the first-leg.

 

Next up the men's qualifier second leg....

INDIAN WOMEN QUALIFIES FOR TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS!

FULL-TIME: INDIA 1-4 USA (Aggregate: India 6-5 USA)

The Indian women's team holds it nerve to qualify for Tokyo 2020, its third Olympic appearance and a back-to-back Olympic appearances for the first time. The host came into the second leg with 5-1 advantage from the first leg but were shell shocked by the Americans who scored four goals in the first half to erase India's advantage. However, it took a moment of brilliance from Indian skipper Rani Rampal, who smashed into the roof of the net in the 49th minute to send her team through to the Olympics next summer.

60' Free-hit for USA just outside the area but India manages to clear it out. Just ten more second left.

58' USA throws the kitchen sink at India as it floods forward into India's territory. However, the Indian defence stands firm to clear away the danger.

57' India reverses PC decision! The umpire awards a PC to USA but replays show that the ball hit the hand of a USA player and the India wins the referral.

57' USA appeals for a penalty stroke! Sticks of Gurjit and Alyssa Manley are locked as the American forward gets to the baseline. USA thinks its an obstruction of play, but the TV umpire says free-hit outside the circle..

55' If USA manages to score another goal, they will be tied 6-6 on aggregate and the winner will be decided through a penalty shoot-out. The China women's team turned around 1-3 deficit against Belgium in the first leg by winning the second leg 2-0 and then qualified for the Olympics by winning the shootout 2-1.

54' USA comes back for an equaliser, but Vandana does well to clear the danger. India needs to spend more time in the attack half to run out the clock.

52' The Indians are purring now. The Kalinga Stadium has come alive with the crowd cheering every Indian pass. However, the game is not over yet as the host needs to hold on to the lead.

49' GOAL INDIA!  Rani Rampal tilts the scales in India's favour. Reena slices open the USA defence and bring goalkeeper Kelsey Bing into the action. The spill over falls to Rani Rampal who thumps the ball into the top corner. India ahead in the tie by 6-5.

47' The Indians look far more confident since the beginning of the match as Reena wins a free-hit outside the circle.

46' We are off for the final quarter! Vandana and Navneet exchange passes as Julia Young wins the ball back on the left-hand side.

Q3

45' Gurjit and Sushila try to bring out the ball out the defensive quarter but only manage to hit the ball out of play. It will only add pressure on the host with the tie on knife edge.

43' PC for India!  Gurjit's dragflick is straight at the goalkeeper who clears it away with a kick.

42' Indian midfield has been porous in the first-half and looks a bit on the edge in the second half. The Indians need more solidity in the centre.

40' PC for India! Gurjit aims for the bottom right corner but the ball skids narrowly past the post.

39' This is the best spell on the ball for India in this match as Navneet wins two free hits near the baseline, but is unable to get the ball into dangerous areas.

37' Vandana Katariya wins a free-hit as India tries to put the pressure back on USA. The American defence stands firm to repel the attack.

35' Rani wins a free hit just outside the circle but a stray pass foils the attack and USA gets back on the ball.

33' USA hounds the possession off the Indian players as Matson wins a free-hit on the edge of the circle. However, Sushila does well to avert the danger.

31' Second-half begins! India needs more circle penetrations in order to take the advantage as it has failed to keep possession for a sustained period of time in the first half.

HALF-TIME: INDIA 0-4 USA (Aggregate India 5-5 USA)

Q2

30' Sharmila makes a last ditch tackle to deny Magaden to prevent another goal chance. India has been blown away by USA in the second leg. The defence has looked shaky and the Americans have made the most of it. Rani Rampal, India's talisman, has been kept quiet as USA won most of the turn-overs and choked the Indian forwardline with close marking.

28' GOAL USA! The Americans are level on aggregate! India's four-cushion has vanished and it took USA just 28 minutes to wipe out the first leg deficit. Amanda Magaden gets the fourth for the visitor and its 5-5 on aggregate.

28' More trouble for India. Navneet is shown a yellow card. She will out for 5 minutes.

26' Sushila gets a green card for time wasting. India will be down to 10 women for the next two minutes. USA's Lauren Moyer also gets suspended for two minutes.

24' Indian captain Rani Rampal has hardly seen the ball in this match. Her vision and creativity has been the key to India's five goals in the first leg.

22' Back-to-back PCs to India! Gurjit fluffs her lines in the second attempt as her dragflick whizzes past the left-hand post.

20' GOAL USA!  Indian defence is unable to snuff out an American attack in the final fourth as Matson and Sharkey work the ball inside the circle and put it through to Alyssa Parker who beats Savita at the far post. Aggregate India 5-4 USA

17' Erin Matson has been a menace on the wings today. She gets near the Indian circle once again, but is tackled by Sharmila who wins a free-hit for India.

16' Second quarter gets underway! India needs to hold its lines and deny USA space on the wider areas of the pitch.

 

Did you know: India's head coach Sjoerd Marijne and USA head coach Janneke Schopman have both represented Netherlands' club Den Bosch in the Hoofdklasse, the Dutch hockey league. Schopman also played for Dutch national team where Marijne was the assistant coach during a tour of U.S.

Q1

15' Lalaremsiami tries to get into the circle but USA defence gets the ball back. Erin Matson wins a free-hit from 23 metres out as the umpire blows the whistle indicating the end of first quarter.

14' GOAL USA!  Brilliant wing play from USA. Erin Matson and Kathleen Sharkey combine on the left side as the USA skipper gets hold of the ball and smashes it into the far post. India in a spot of bother now. Aggregate India 5-3 USA.

12' India gets a spell of possession of its own as it wins two free-hits outside the 25 metre line. USA manages to hold firm and goes on a counter. Reena is in position to snip the attack in the midfield.

10' USA is getting into dangerous positions as Margaux Paolino gets on a shot on the goal. However, her hit lacks power and easily cleared away by Savita.

9' India wins a turn-over as Lalaremsiami races away on the left flank and threads a pass towards Navneet who is unable to get on the end of it.

7' First attack from India comes from Sushila who lifts the ball at the far post for Sharmila. The referee awards USA a free-out for dangerous play.

5' GOAL USA! Blistering start by the Americans! They go for a penalty corner variation and Amanda Magadan takes the ball on the bounce and smashes the ball into the bottom right corner. Aggregate India 5-2 USA.

4' Back-to-back Penalty Corners for USA! That was close! Indian custodian Savita manages to save Sharkey's initial dragflick as the clearance falls to injector Erin Matson who completely misses the ball and India breathes a sigh of relief.

2' USA skipper Kathleen Sharkey with the circle entry of the day, but Deep Grace Ekka wins back the ball with a strong tackle.

1' PUSH-BACK! Here we go!  India has four-goal advantage after yesterday's 5-1 win against USA and needs to have a higher goals total from the two legs to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. For USA, it needs a 4-0 win in the second leg in order to take the match into a penalty shootout.

* The teams walk out for the national anthems.

* Here are the lineups for the second leg:

 

* The Indian women's team and USA are out in the middle going through their warm up drills. Just few more minutes for push-back.

* New Zealand beat Republic of Korea 3-2 in the first leg of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers at Startford and has a one goal advantage going into the second leg tomorrow. Here are the other qualifier matches line up for today:
 

Men's
Germany vs Austria
Great Britain vs Malaysia
 

Women's

Great Britain vs China

Germany vs Italy

Ireland vs Canada

* As Indian women's hockey team aims for a third Olympic appearance, check out the timeline of its Olympic journey so far

 

* Here are the men's hockey teams which have qualified for Tokyo 2020 :

 

* Here are the women's teams which have qualified for next year's summer games:

 

* Indian men's hockey team was not at its best against world no 19 Russia in the first leg, but managed to outscore the Europeans 4-2. Manpreet Singh and co need to up their game in the second leg if they need to avoid complications as a 2-0 win for Russia in the second-leg could push the match to a shootout where the team has not done well in the past few instances. Here are the best moments from the first-leg.

 

* India women's hockey team takes a four-goal advantage into the second leg on Saturday after a thumping 5-1 over world no 13 USA. If India manages to maintain a superior goal aggregate at the end of second leg, then the Rani Rampal-led side will seal a third Olympic appearance. Take a look at the highlights from yesterday.