New Delhi: Indian women made a poor start to their Olympic qualifying campaign when they were held 1-1 by lower-ranked Ukraine at the Dhyan Chand Sports Complex, on Saturday.
Trailing by a first half goal scored by Ukraine skipper Maryna Vynohradova, India hit back to equalise through Soundarya Yendala.
While the Indian team management complained they were denied a genuine goal in the second half and a penalty corner at the fag end of the match, the Ukraine side had put up a disciplined performance against the more fancied opponents.
In the second half, the umpire negated a goal scored by Poonam Rani because the other striker Anuradha Devi Thokchom was pulled up for dangerous play. Indian coach CR Kumar, however, said he was not sure whether his team would lodge a protest against the decision.
Saturdays result is definitely a setback for Indias aspirations to qualify for the Olympics after 32 years. India will now have to play higher ranked sides like South Africa, Italy and Canada.
In other matches, South Africa edged past Poland 2-1, while Italy held Canada 2-2.