Football: Suker sweet on West Ham

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The Independent Online
WEST HAM yesterday denied that they were in talks with the Croatian international, Davor Suker, after the striker said he would be moving to the club next season.

A West Ham spokesman said: "He's obviously a player we would be very interested in if we can afford him. As far as I know he is not in talks with the club."

Suker, 31, said on Spanish television on Tuesday: "I have not yet signed the contract, that should be done in the next week, but I will be playing for West Ham next season. I have had six or seven offers from around Europe but I like the one from West Ham the best."

The Golden Boot winner at the 1998 World Cup was released by Real Madrid last month, after a war of words with the coach John Toshack. Real Madrid will want a big fee for letting Suker go with a year still left on his contract.

The Croat has been in Spain since 1991, firstly with Seville and then with Real Madrid for the last three seasons. After making a stunning impact at Real in his first season, when he scored 24 goals, his frustrations have mounted over the last two years, when he has been used primarily as a substitute by a succession of Real coaches.

Five players were sent off as Brazil beat the Netherlands 3-1 in a bad-tempered friendly in Goiania on Tuesday.

The Dutch finished a controversial match with eight men, after having Edgar Davids, Andre Ooijer and Peter van Vossen dismissed, while Brazil ended with nine players after Rivaldo and Amoroso, who opened the scoring, were both shown red cards.

The sendings-off all came in the second half after Brazil had taken a 3-0 first-half lead with two goals from Milan's Leonardo and one from Amoroso. Pierre van Hooijdonk, recalled for the first time since last year's World Cup, scored a late consolation for the Dutch after coming on as a late substitute.

The most bizarre sending-off involving Davids and Rivaldo, both dismissed in injury-time after the Brazilian pulled the dreadlocked Dutchman's hair as they tumbled after a challenge. The incident came after the teams had spent the last few minutes kicking the ball aimlessly around waiting for the final whistle.

Van Vossen, the hero of last Saturday's 2-2 draw between the same teams when he scored a spectacular equaliser, started the early procession towards the dressing room when he was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half. He was followed almost immediately by Amoroso, whose second yellow-card offence was to stop the Dutch goalkeeper Sander Westerveld from taking a goal-kick. His first was a vicious lunge at Ooijer's groin in the first half. Ooijer also went for two bookable fouls.

Amoroso fired Brazil's opening goal after 16 minutes, converting an easy chance set up by Barcelona's Rivaldo, shortly after he had an effort disallowed for offside. Leonardo prodded the ball home in the 38th minute after winning a tussle with Frank de Boer and scored again four minutes later, slipping the ball through an opponent's legs and firing a left-foot shot into the roof of the net.

Brazil threatened a rout but, as in Saturday's game when they threw away a two-goal lead, they eased off after the break. Van Hooijdonk's goal was probably the best of the game as he scored direct from a 25-metre free-kick in the 80th minute.

Two players on Thailand's national squad have received one-month suspended jail sentences and been fined 1,500 baht (pounds 30) each after pleading guilty to beating up a waiter.

Bangkok's The Nation daily newspaper reported yesterday that stiffer penalties had been considered for Dusit Chalermsaen and Thawatchai Damrongontrakul, but were halved by the judge, who took their guilty pleas and clean records into account.

The pair had an argument with the waiter at a night-club over a bag of missing fruit. Thai officials described the incident as "not serious" and said the men were heavily drunk.

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