The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
1. Everton – Liverpool. And yet, no amount of having a soccer blog could keep me from writing email throughout this tedious chore of a match.
2. Espanyol – Barcelona. Madness, violence, confusion, controversy: this was the match of the season for every one of soccer’s wicked shadow synonyms. After giving up a goal on a play in which Víctor Valdés demonstrated the tactical shortcomings of diving in the box as a goalkeeper, Barça sent out an attacking unit that included Xavi, Henry, Eto’o, Iniesta, and Messi and still couldn’t take the lead until 1) toxic Barça ultras in the upper deck started firing flares into the Espanyol supporters below them, forcing a suspension of play while Espanyol fans tried to tear down the barricades keeping them penned into their section of the stadium, and 2) Eto’o won a phantom penalty in the twelfth minute (the. twelfth. minute.) of stoppage time, teeing up Messi to win the match on its very last kick (its. very. last. kick.) Spain’s in a meltdown; romantic liberals the world over are learning what it means to suffer agonies of conscience. Isn’t it enough to hate Franco? Shouldn’t that be enough?
3. Milan – Inter. Every time I watch one of these tough, deft, fluid Serie A games, I ask myself why I spend so much time covering the Premier League. Then I remember: it’s because I know how to read English. Shame about that. Anyway, Ronaldinho’s improbable slingshot header will live on as the highlight of the weekend, but Kaka’s sublime pass, as well as his sublime ability to be desperately offside, were the real keys to the goal. Shevchenko, as is his habit when Mourinho’s in the stadium, spent the first 80 minutes on the bench.
by Brian Phillips · September 29, 2008