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3. OFF THE POST: Jesus saves in 'Mexican' win at Vatican
February 27th, 2007 1:25AM



The 16-team Clericus Cup kicked off at the Vatican last weekend as Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church College), a team comprised mainly of Mexican priest trainees, defeated the all-Brazilian students of the Pontifical Gregorian University, 6-0.

The game opened the 16-team tournament in which 311 priests and seminarians -- from countries including Italy, the United States, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and Rwanda -- are competing in the shadow of the Basilica of Saint Peter.

"You are in sight of St Peter's cupola, so behave!" Cardinal Pio Laghi announced at the opening ceremonies.

But two yellow cards were shown and two penalty kicks called as the Mexican team, whose goalkeeper's name is Jesus, triumphed over what was described as chubby group of Brazilians.

"I didn't mean to concede the penalty, but, well, I'm not so quick these days," said Father Reginei Modolo, who was cautioned. "They called me Zico in Brazil, when I was a kid, but nowadays I'm not really up to it."

Jaime Rolando, the victim of Modolo's foul, forgave: "He did not mean it."

During the game, Mater Ecclesiae fans chanted, "The Mother of the Church wants a goal!"

Mater Ecclesiae coach Marco Rosales said his team included several experienced players.

"Some on the team had a chance to play professionally, but the Lord called them to His team," he said.

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