Rani Rampal scored the winning goal for India on Saturday as the women’s team qualified for the 2020 Olympics by beating USA 6-5 over two legs in the Olympic Qualifiers (Twitter/HockeyIndia)

Captain Rani Rampal saved the day by scoring a 48th-minute winner as India beat USA 6-5 on aggregate in the Olympic qualifiers in Bhubaneshwar on Saturday. The men’s team also qualified for the Olympics later in the day by hammering Russia 11-3.

The women’s team were going into the second leg of the tie with a huge 5-1 advantage from the first leg. They were woefully out of touch in the first two quarters of the match on Saturday, as USA went 4-0 up in the second leg to give the hosts a big scare.

Rani Rampal came to the rescue by scoring the winning goal with 12 minutes left on the clock. India then defended their slender lead as plaudits began to be showered on social media for the women’s team’s feat of qualifying for successive Olympic editions for the first time.

This is only the third time – the other occasions being 1980 and 2016 – that the Indian women’s hockey team has qualified for the Olympics.

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