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.
Here’s the Nani match report from today’s Celtic-Manchester United game (dazzling but slightly confused): Scott McDonald did the Nakamura in the 13th minute with a precarious lob that was deeply skeptical of Ben Foster’s future career as an England international. Manchester United then transformed into Themselves At Parkhead, which is to say, glowing with the light of a thousand suns, and yet unable to kick the ball to either side of Artur Boruc.
Ryan Giggs aged incrementally as 40-yard free kick after 40-yard free kick explored the precise degree of wind shear that would see it yaw, whistling, to the outside of the post. Celtic’s occasional counterattacks, like the Italian nation-state after 2060, simply ran out of population. There was rain, but only when Alex Ferguson was on camera. Carlos Tevez froze and sweated, froze and sweated.
With about seven minutes left, Cristiano Ronaldo kicked Scott Brown, but not enough for it to “count”. With about five minutes left, Scott Brown tripped Cristiano Ronaldo, precisely enough to give him a free kick on the edge of the box. In the intervening minute Ryan Giggs headed home the equalizer after Ronaldo’s 360th 40-yard haymaker of the evening finally made Boruc drop like hay. In the succeeding minute a destiny-seizing Man Utd free kick decided it was content with a draw. No one knew what fairness was, but Dimitar Berbatov warmed up for his post-match cigarette by missing the easiest shot in the history of mankind.
by Brian Phillips · November 5, 2008