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.

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Barcelona v. Málaga v. Mud

Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Málaga yesterday was a wet, nasty, mad-spattered slog, punctuated by a couple of brilliant goals from Xavi and Messi—as well as by 43 fouls and some companionable monkey chanting. What will stay in the memory of anyone who saw the match, though, is the pitch, which looked like an alien moonscape that was breaking apart under the influence of our Earth rain. There were inches-deep pools of standing water covering large areas of the ground; chunks of turf went flying wherever the players stepped. It was one of the worst pitches I’ve seen in a top-flight game, but it wasn’t all bad. Pet boa constrictors released at the touchline after growing too large for their owners were able to find a steady diet of swamp mammals, birds, and young alligators.

This gives you some idea of what it was like:

And you can see the conditions in the box (as well as Xavi’s superb free kick) here. Note that this is five minutes into the game:

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Barcelona v. Málaga v. Mud

by Brian Phillips · November 2, 2008

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