New Delhi: Dreaming of playing Olympics after 32 years of span, Indian women hockey team were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by a lowly Ukraine in their opening match of London Olympics hockey qualifiers at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday.

Indian eves were rusty in the first half and conceded the early lead to Ukraine in the 26th minute when Maryna Vynohradova found the goal on a direct hit.

Soundarya Yendala drew parity for India combining with Kirandeep Kaur in the 42nd minute.

In the 55th minute, the Indian camp burst into celebration when Poonam Rani's shot from inside the 'D' went high towards the left corner of the nettings after deflection from Ukraine goalkeeper.

The umpire signalled a legitimate goal but technical officials later ruled it was not a goal apparently because of Anuradha's high stick position, much to the disappointment of the Indians.

India were aggressive at the start with Soundarya Yendala and Ritu Rani making inroads in the rival defence in the first five minutes but an alert Ukraine defence thwarted the attempts.

In the sixth minute, Ukraine earned their first penalty corner but missed the chance by hitting wide. Four minutes later, Sadova Bohdana missed another opportunity when she hit over the post.

Two minutes later, Ukraine earned their second penalty corner as the Indians failed to clear the ball after their goalkeeper Yogita Bali made a double save. Skipper Maryna Vynohradova made no mistake and scored from a direct hit to give Ukraine a 1-0 lead.

India could have drawn parity in the dying moments of the first half but Rani Rampaul missed a sitter as her shot went over the post as the hosts went into the breather trailing 0-1.

In the 40th minute, Kirandeep's hit from the left flank found Jasjeet's deflection on target but Ukraine goalkeeper was up to the task.

In the 42nd minute, Soundarya brought up the equaliser for India, hitting on the reverse after getting a pass from Kirandeep Kaur.

In the 51st minute, India earned their first penalty corner and although an alert Ukraine goalkeeper averted it on the way gave another penalty corner to India but the hosts couldn't covert it also.

With 30 seconds left in the match, India earned their third penalty corner but failed to make use of the chance.

Anuradha Devi was adjudged the player of the match.

India found the going tough and whatever chances they earned, they squandered them as the Ukraine midfield and defence were always up to the task.