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.
I’ve seen more intense derbies in my life, and so, I’m prepared to concede, has John Arne Riise. Who did, however, get a good view of this one from the bench. And it could be that watching Max Tonetto take over your spot is more intense than I realize.
Still, this was a dug-in, chips-flying sort of game, and it felt like watching a child carve hunks out of a school desk with a spoon. Júlio Baptista’s repeated goings to ground must have rattled the pope’s crockery (and not just the encyclicals). And when that big, eager, Vertigo-zoom of a header finally went in, I think a few fourteenth-century doctrines about Purgatory might have been clattered briefly back into existence.
I really like Lazio’s uniforms. They look super-charged but also comfortable, like something Luke Skywalker might slip into after a bath. I’m less impressed with their philosophy of pushing their lumbering defensive line so far forward that Roma continually finds space to attack against a single defender. That said, it almost worked out for everybody’s favorite Carolina-blue quasi-fascists, as Pandev only narrowly missed a couple of good chances and Zárate only needed players who could finish a good cross to create a couple more. That said, Doni was excellent, and literally single-handedly (no, I mean literally single-handedly) preserved the Roma lead on at least two separate occasions.
Spalletti fumed in his Spalletti way, like a cross between Martin Scorsese and Kojak. Bruises were given and received. Both sides had a player sent off. I enjoyed it. But how bad do you think it would be, politically, I mean, if I picked up a Lazio shirt solely for the breathable fabrics?
by Brian Phillips · November 16, 2008