Lazio defeated mid-table Hellas Verona 5-1 at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi in Matchday 36 of the 2019/20 Serie A. This win saw the Biancocelesti’s strong run of form continue; a Ciro Immobile hat-trick brought the striker’s goal tally to 34 on the season.
It was another slow first half for Lazio. While again controlling possession, the Biancocelesti only had two shots on target. However, great midfield play, mainly from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, kept the Biancocelesti on the front foot. Furthermore, the return of Joaquin Correa displays a Lazio side with a much more dynamic attack as the Argentinian had two key passes in the first 45.
Verona’s lone goal came from a penalty scored by Sofyan Amrabat. Mattia Zaccagni was tripped in the box by Luiz Felipe while running for the ball. The call, however, was a little controversial, as there was little evidence Luiz Felipe made contact with Amrabat. Regardless, the Moroccan converted the penalty and Verona went up 1-0 in the 39th minute.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Immobile drew a foul in the box. Receiving a headed pass from Marco Parolo, Immobile was taken down, and calmly converted putting the game level at 1-1.
Lazio took complete control of the second half, despite only keeping possession 35% of the time. The four-goal second frame started with a deflected free-kick from Milinkovic-Savic. The mid-range foul put the Serbian midfielder in a good position and was helped by the change in direction.
Correa put Lazio ahead 3-1 with another goal that was helped into the back of the net by a Verona deflection. The goal was a nod to Correa’s persistence on the ball and although the finish was not perfect, the brilliant movement and positioning gave the Biancocelesti a commanding lead.
20 minutes later, substitute Jordan Lukaku made a great run and provided an opportunity for Immobile, who scored his second goal of the match, one of his most stunning finishes of the season. Immobile provided a beautiful lofted, curling shot from the edge of the box.
Immobile would get his hat trick goal in stoppage time. The striker made a great run in the box and was tripped by Boris Radunovic. Had the Serbian goalkeeper not done so, Immobile would have had an empty net and a fairly easy finish. Regardless, Immobile scored his second penalty of the match, and his 34th goal of the season, giving the Biancocelesti a 5-1 lead right before the final whistle.
This was a commanding win, the first victory by more than a one-goal margin since the restart. Immobile continues his impressive run of form. His 34 goals put him in a comfortable lead in the Capocannoniere race. Furthermore, he is now tied with Robert Lewandowski as top scorer in all of Europe’s top five leagues and two off of Gonzalo Higuain’s Serie A record of 36 goals.
Despite Juventus being crowned as Serie A champions, Lazio still has a lot to show for this season. Champions League is all but confirmed, Immobile is knocking on the door of a goal-scoring record, and with this win, the Biancocelesti passed their single-season points record. It might not be the ending Laziali dreamed of, but it is a historic finish to the season, and furthermore, this momentum does not look like it will slow down going into next season.