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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

July 26, 2020: Hellas Verona Lazio 1-5

Immobile Immobile Immobile


Three goals from Immobile take him closer to the European Golden Boot



Official SS Lazio photo

The season so far


We have only just recently spoken about this season and we will be doing so again in a couple of days so for this time we will concentrate on the match. Lazio had already reached Champions League qualification in the previous game against Cagliari. For the first time since 2007-08 the Biancocelesti would be playing the top European competition. Now the main objective was to allow Ciro Immobile to score as many goals as possible since he was competing with Robert Lewandowski for the European Golden Boot, an award given each season to the leading goal scorer in league matches from the top division of a European national league. In the last ten years Lionel Messi has won 6, Cristiano Ronaldo 3 (including a shared one) and Luis Suarez two (one shared with Ronaldo).


The match: Sunday, July 26, 2020, Stadio Bentegodi, Verona


Verona started really well and in the 12th minute had a chance. Davide Faraoni, former Lazio, crossed from the right, Mattia Zaccagni, future Lazio, anticipated Patric but his shot was easily saved by Thomas Strakosha. In the 14th minute Lazio appeared up front for the first time with Immobile, whose shot from outside the box was just slightly too high. In the 23rd minute Luis Alberto to Joaquin Correa on the left, ball to Immobile in the box, Faraoni intercepted into corner but very near the Verona post. In the 26th minute a shot by Miguel Veloso was saved into corner by Strakosha and five minutes later, after a free kick taken by Luis Alberto, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s shot shaved the crossbar.


It seemed Lazio were in control and that the goal was imminent, but instead it went the other way. Zaccagni stole the ball from Luiz Felipe who allegedly tripped him up in the box. It looked, at most, accidental but the referee gave the penalty. Sofyan Amrabat took the spot kick and put Hellas in front.


Lazio equalised in the second minute of injury time. Immobile got kneed in the stomach in the box by Darko Lazovic but the referee ignored the foul until he was called by VAR to have a look at what had happened. The penalty was blatant and King Ciro scored the spot kick. Verona 1 Lazio 1.


The Biancocelesti started the second half with the clear intention of winning. In the 49th minute Djavan Anderson crossed from the left towards the far post, Milinkovic-Savic headed the ball towards centre and Francesco Acerbi’s header shaved the post. Verona responded and two minutes later a cross in the box by Lazovic was deflected by Luiz Felipe and hit the woodwork.


Lazio went ahead in the 56th minute. Free kick for Lazio taken by Milinkovic-Savic, ball deflected by Matteo Pessina and the Verona keeper was beaten. After a Fabio Borini shot saved by Strakosha in the 60th minute, the Biancocelesti made it three in the 63rd. Milinkovic-Savic to Correa in the box on the left, control, shot, 3-1.


Hellas could have reduced the deficit in the 78th minute. Lazovic crossed from the left and Eddie Salcedo, unmarked, headed the ball towards the Lazio goal but a spectacular save from Strakosha kept Lazio’s double lead.


In the 83rd minute, Jordan Lukaku, who had substituted Djavan Anderson in the 65th minute, passed to Immobile just inside the box on the far left. A fantastic shot on the far post and Lazio went 4-1. What a goal!!!


In the third minute of injury time Lazio made it five. André Anderson to Immobile who ran into the box and was fouled by Boris Radunovic. Penalty for Lazio and King Ciro completed his hat trick.


Game over. Not an easy match for Lazio but Immobile was on fire tonight and has now scored 34 league goals, just two away from the Italian record set by Gonzalo Higuain. He also overtook Lewandowski in the Golden Boot race.


Who played for Verona


Radunovic, Veloso, Rrhamani, Gunter, Faraoni (79' Di Marco), Pessina, Amrabat, Lazovic, Borini (67' Di Carmine), Zaccagni (67' Salcedo), Eysseric.

Substitutes: Silvestri, Berardi, Badu, Stepinski, Lucas Felippe, Terracciano.

Manager: Juric.


Who played for Lazio


Strakosha, Patric (65’ Vavro), Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Marusic (88’ Armini), Milinkovic-Savic (88’ A. Anderson), Parolo, Luis Alberto, D. Anderson (65’ Lukaku), Correa (68’ Caicedo), Immobile

Substitutes: Proto, Guerrieri, Bastos, Cataldi, Falbo, Jony, Adekanye

Manager: S. Inzaghi


Referee: Volpi


Goals: 39’ Amrabat, 45+6’ Immobile (pen), 56’ Milinkovic-Savic, 63’ Correa, 84’ Immobile, 90+4’ Immobile (pen).





What happened next


Lazio reached fourth place, Immobile won the Golden Boot and by scoring another two goals equalised Higuain’s record. So a good season but Lazio before Covid were a very strong contender for the scudetto. Alas, when football returned after lock down, injuries, lack of depth in the squad, and poor form did not allow the dream to be fulfilled.


Lazio 2019-2020

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

38

24

6

8

79

Coppa Italia

2

1

0

1

4

Europa League

6

2

-

4

6

Super Coppa

1

1

-

-

3

Total

47

28

6

13

92

Top five appearances (complete statistics)

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

45

36

2

6

1

44

37

2

4

1

44

38

1

4

1

43

37

1

4

1

41

36

-

4

1

Top five goal scorers (complete statistics)

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Ciro Immobile

39

36

1

2

-

10

9

-

1

-

9

9

-

-

-

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

8

7

-

1

-

Luis Alberto

7

6

-

-

1

Let's talk about Ciro Immobile


Numbers talk:

  • Player who has scored most goals for Lazio in all official competitions

  • Player who has scored most goals for Lazio in Serie A

  • Player who has scored most goals for Lazio in UEFA Cup/Europa League

  • Player who has scored most goals for Lazio in UEFA competitions

  • Lazio player, along with Beppe Signori, who has been Serie A top scorer most times

  • One of three players to have won the trophy for top Serie A scorer with two different teams (the others being Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luca Toni)

  • Player, together with Gonzalo Higuain, to have scored most goals in a season in Serie A

  • First Italian Serie A player to have scored at least 25 league goals three times. The other two were foreigners Gunnar Nordhal and Istvan Nyers

  • Player in activity with most goals scored in Serie A

We could stop here, but there is a bio to write.


Ciro Immobile was born in Torre Annunziata near Naples on February 20 1990. He started his career in the youth teams of Salernitana but he did not stand out. He then moved to play for Sorrento and scored 30 goals in the Allievi (14-16 year olds). Juventus set their eyes on him and at 17 he joined the Bianconeri. Juve won the prestigious Viareggio Tournament in 2009 thanks to an Immobile double in the final. He debuted in Serie A on March 14 2009 coming on for Alessandro Del Piero in injury time at the end of Juventus Bologna 4-1. Later on in the year in November he also debuted in the Champions League against Bordeaux. He would end up with four appearances that season in all competitions.


In July 2010 he signed for Siena in Serie B on loan but he did not play much so in January he moved to Grosseto where he played a little more but only scored one goal. The big life changer for Ciro took place in the summer of 2011 when he signed for Pescara, again on loan. Together with future greats Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne, and under the guidance of Zdenek Zeman, they took Pescara back to Serie A and won the championship. Immobile was Serie B top scorer with 28 goals.


In the summer of 2012 Genoa bought half of Immobile and Ciro moved to Liguria. Not a good season for him: 34 league appearances but only 5 goals. At the end of the campionato, Juventus re-acquired the other half and sold it to Torino. Together with his attacking partner Alessio Cerci and under the guidance of Gian Piero Ventura, Torino reached a Europa League qualification and Immobile scored 22 goals, top Serie A scorer.


Torino purchased the other half of Immobile and sold him to Borussia Dortmund. He played 34 games with 10 goals (4 in Champions League) in a difficult season for the Germans. He also had a few problems getting used to the new way of life. In the summer of 2015 he was loaned to Sevilla but in six months he played just 15 games (four goals) and had problems with the manager. For the remaining part of the season he was loaned back to Torino but did not leave a significant mark.


In July 2016 he signed for Lazio. On a personal note, I had wanted this to happen since Ciro’s Pescara days. He may not be pretty to watch but he has the gift of often being in the right place at the right time and scores goals. He just had to find the right kind of environment and club which could allow him to express himself at his best. Lazio was the right club and Ciro Immobile became King. With the Biancocelesti he has won a Coppa Italia (2018-19) and two Super Coppas (2017 and 2019), scoring with an amazing consistency. Ciro scores in every possible way: headers, volleys, shots from outside the box, left or right foot. The upcoming season will be his eighth for Lazio and he is bound to score a lot more. There have only been a couple of years in which he has not scored more than 20 goals and that has been due to injuries. In 2020 Immobile won the Golden Boot an award given each season to the leading goal scorer in league matches from the top division of a European national league


Official SS Lazio photo

Immobile has also been very useful for the Nazionale though he has not scored as much. But, as many Lazio fans know, the whole game must revolve around Ciro for him to be effective. Even Maurizio Sarri re-adapted his tactics to exploit this goal-scoring machine. This is yet to happen in Nazionale and particularly by Roberto Mancini. Despite this Ciro has scored 15 goals for Italy and won a European Nations Cup. He is also the media’s favourite scapegoat for whenever something goes wrong, just like Giorgio Chinaglia was back in the 1970s.


But for the Lazio fans he is our captain, our champion and our King.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (Goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Conference League

Super Coppa

2016-17

41 (26)

36 (23)

5 (3)

-

-

-

2017-18

47 (41)

33 (29)

4 (2)

-

9 (8)

1 (2)

2018-19

46 (19)

36 (15)

5 (3)

-

5 (1)

-

2019-20

44 (39)

37 (36)

2 (1)

-

4 (2)

1

2020-21

41 (25)

35 (20)

1

5 (5)

-

-

2021-22

40 (32)

31 (27)

2 (1)

-

7 (4)

-

2022-23

38 (14)

31 (12)

1

-

4 (1)

2 (1)

-

Total

297 (196)

239 (162)

20 (10)

5 (5)

29 (16)

2 (1)

2 (2)

Sources



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