India held 1-1 by Ukraine in women`s hockey Olympic qualifier

New Delhi: India were held to a 1-1 draw by a determined Ukraine in a women`s hockey Olympic qualifier match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here Saturday.

India dominated the proceedings but lacked proper finishing that did them in as chances went abegging inside the Ukrainian penalty box.

Ukraine, one of the lowest ranked teams in the tournament at World No.26, shockingly took lead in the 25th minute through captain Maryna Vynohradova, who converted their second penalty corner.

India, world No.13, equalised in the 42nd minute through Soundarya Yendala after a brilliantly orchestrated move by Kirandeep Kaur. India almost broke the deadlock in the 55th minute after a strike from Anuradha Devi Thokchom, but the goal was disallowed due to her high stick.

India had to blame themselves for the draw as they failed to finish several quick moves. India made most of their attacks down the right flank, where Soundarya impressed with her quick runs and deft stick-work, but it was a pedestrian performance by the half-line.

India had the first shot at the target as early as in the third minute but Ritu Rani's reverse hit from the top of the circle went past the Ukraine goal.

The Ukrainian defenders did a good job to mark the Indian forwards, who were stifled inside the D. Jasjeet Kaur Handa, Anuradha Devi and Ritu Rani were rusty as the Indian attacks fizzled out in the Ukrainian circle.

Rani Rampal missed a sitter just before the lemon break after she was set-up well with a precise pass from Ritu Rani and scooped it over the goalpost when she had only the goalkeeper to beat.

India's failure to convert any of the four penalty corners would also be a concern for coach C.R. Kumar. India were awarded two penalty corners late in the game but the second one was disallowed after Ukraine's technical advisor Jose Brasa, former India men's coach, protested that the penalty corner was given just as the hooter was blown.