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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Roma 1 – 0 Lazio: Lazio’s Cloth, Júlio Baptista’s Scissors

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?

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Roma 1 – 0 Lazio: Lazio’s Cloth, Júlio Baptista’s Scissors

by Brian Phillips · November 16, 2008

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