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Sports digest: Sunderland's Swedish signing raring to go

The Local · 28 Jan 2008, 10:34

Published: 28 Jan 2008 10:34 GMT+01:00

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New boy Prica out to make his mark for Sunderland

New Sunderland arrival Rade Prica has promised Birmingham City a bruising time as he looks to make an instant impact in the Premier League.

Prica is set to make his debut in Tuesday night's crucial relegation clash after sealing a move from Danish side Aalborg.

The 27-year-old Sweden international claims he is ideally suited to the unique rigours of the English top flight, especially its physical side.

And the uncompromising forward is ready to leave his mark on the Blues, insisting: "I'm ready if the manager needs me against Birmingham, this is a great opportunity."

Prica, who topped the Danish league's goal charts last season is confident of making his mark in the Premier League, and he added: "I'm suited to the football here, it's a little rougher, just like football should be played.

"I always give 100 per cent and defenders are always in a little pain after games against me. It hurts people to play against me."

Sunderland, who have won just two of their last nine games, are set to name a second debutant for the Stadium of Light clash in defender David Bardsley, joining from Manchester United.

The new faces are a timely addition for manager Roy Keane, who is without a host of first team regulars as Sunderland look to climb out of the bottom three with a win that would see them leapfrog a side currently two places above them in 16th courtesy of a better goal difference.

Michael Chopra serves a one-match ban, while broken toes rule out Grant Leadbitter and Danny Higginbotham.

Ross Wallace (knee) and Kieran Richardson (hamstring) are also absent while Dickson Etuhu is away on international duty and Carlos Edwards is not yet ready to return from a broken leg.

Keane, who is considering a loan inquiry for veteran striker Andy Cole from Championship side Burnley, has no qualms at throwing Prica straight in.

He said: "He'll be in the squad because he's match fit and he looks in good shape."



Scott edges out Stenson in Qatar

Adam Scott stormed to an impressive three-shot victory over Swede Henrik Stenson at the $2.5 million Qatar Masters on Sunday to become the first double winner of the tournament since its inception in 1998.

The Australian, who won in Doha in 2002 as a 21-year-old, produced an astonishing performance on the rain-drenched Doha Golf Club, shooting a course record 11 under par 61 in the final round for a total of 20 under par 268.

Stenson, who won the tournament in 2006, finished runner-up for the second time, the first being in 2005 when Ernie Els took the title.

But the Swede once again proved his consistency on the Gulf circuit, shooting a fine 65 in the final round which gave him a total of 17-under-par 271.

South African Charl Schwartzel placed third after his final round 67 gave him an aggregate of 15-under-par 273.

Apart from taking the winner's cheque of $416,660, Scott also received a gleaming BMW for setting a new course record. The previous mark of nine under par 63 was shared by Mark Pilkington and Robert Karlsson.

Scott, who came to Doha as the world number eight, will rise to the fifth position when the new rankings are announced on Monday.

He began proceedings in spectacular style on Sunday, shooting five successive birdies over the first five holes to set himself up nicely for a winning finish.

He also picked up a shot on the seventh hole and then coming in continued with his brilliant form, picking up birdies on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th and 17th.

Scott's effort was all the more praiseworthy because he had finished on one over par 73 in the first round and climbed up the leaderboard steadily over the next three. He trailed overnight leader Johan Edfors by three strokes going into the finale.

"Obviously I am pleased to win again in Qatar," said Scott. "I think I like the course here, it suits my style.

Scott said his five successive birdies at the start was the key to his success.

"Stringing off five in a row and then to keep it going was good. It put pressure on the others."

He said he felt for Stenson.

"Henrik did everything right. He deserved to win the tournament. It's hard for the guys who were leading."

Overnight leader Edfors' charge faded out in the afternoon and although he managed four birdies, his round was blemished by a bogey on the 12th. But he still finished a creditable fourth.

England's Lee Westwood finished in fifth place on 13 under, while Scot Colin Montgomerie was sixth on 11 under

"I am very satisfied with my performance. I've been hitting the ball well, didn't putt that well but this week didn't feel like my week," said Westwood.

"I've never really played that great here although I feel I ought to. I struggled on the greens, to read them and get the pace of them."

Story continues below…

The European Tour now moves to the Dubai Desert Classic where the final leg of the the three-tier "Desert Swing", will be played with Stenson the defending champion and world No.1 Tiger Woods the top challenger.



Borssen comes in second in World Cup slalom

Austria's Marlies Schild won the women's World Cup slalom in Ofterschwang in Germany on Sunday ahead of Sweden's Therese Borssen and compatriot Nicole Hosp.

Schild, who was fastest in the first run, finished 0.42sec ahead of Borssen and then 0.51sec in front of Hosp for her fourth victory of the season.

It was Schild's 19th victory in the World Cup and last season she finished second in the overall World Cup standings.

Hosp managed to consolidate her lead in both the overall title race and the World Cup slalom standings.

Hosp's third spot, together with the retirement of big rival Lindsey Vonn in the first leg, means she has 899 points in the overall standings, 126 more than the American.

Hosp said she was happy with her lead but that the season still had a long way to go. "I have a big lead on Lindsey Vonn overall but such a lead can soon disappear," Hosp said.

"The most important thing for me is to put together a run of good results and to score points. I'm going to try and be consistent in all the disciplines."

Schild said afterwards: "I virtually had a perfect first leg though I was still not sure of victory even though I had a big lead. You can't tackle the second leg with the attitude that victory is already achieved but, in the end, I was very happy with my performance today."

Second-placed Borssen said she too was very happy with the outcome. "I felt as though I had won today," she said. "Mainly because I had missed the podium twice this season (4th at Aspen and Spindleruv Mlyn). I really attacked during the second leg because I didn't want to finish fourth again."


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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