Perhaps Azzurri’s coach Roberto Mancini should find a way to freeze down Ciro Immobile until June to preserve his astounding state of shape and then unfreeze him just before the Euro 2020. The Nazionale and Lazio’s cannoniere demolished Sampdoria with a hat-trick to lead his side to their 11th consecutive league victory on Saturday.
Simone Inzaghi’s Biancocelesti are now one point from second place pending tomorrow’s Inter match in Lecce, and still with one match against Verona to recover. Sampdoria’s slaughtering started early in the afternoon and was never in discussion as Lazio secured their win with 3 goals in the initial 20 minutes.
Felipe Caicedo drew first blood, then Ciro Immobile rounded up with a brace to consolidate his side’s lead. In the second half, additional goals by Bastos and Immobile set the score at 5-0, before Karol Linetty would save the Blucerchiati’s honor with a late goal.
Ciro Immobile’s hat-trick brought his seasonal goal tally to 23 in 20 games, an average only achieved in the past by Inter’s legendary striker Valentin Angelillo in the 1950-51 season. Should Lazio bomber continue this same pace, Gonzalo Higuain’s Serie A season scoring record set in 2016 may very well be at risk.
For the match at the Stadio Olimpico, coach Inzaghi recovered striker Joaquín Correa but prudently left him on the bench. Immobile’s confirmed striking partner was thus Felipe Caicedo. Jony Rodriguez replaced one-match banned captain Nenad Lulic on the left midfield side, and Patric took over from Luiz Felipe in defense. Claudio Ranieri had to renounce to Fabio Quagliarella as last season’s top-scorer suffered a last-minute flexor injury. His replacement was Gianluca Caprari.
Sampdoria had a strong start and in the 4th minute already Karol Linetty called Thomas Strakosha to his first save of the day. Lazio’s reply, however, was lethal: Ciro Immobile got rid of his marker Julian Chabot and fired a shot that found Emil Audero’s opposition. Felipe Caicedo pounced on the goalkeeper’s deflection and netted in to collect his 5th league goal of the season.
Lazio made it two in the 17th minute when Ciro Immobile converted a penalty awarded for a handball by Nicola Murru. Three minutes later, the capocannoniere put his stamp again, catching a long-range pass by Francesco Acerbi and dribbling even the goalkeeper before depositing the ball in the net.
Before half-time, Emil Audero had to dirt his gloves multiple times to prevent the gap from assuming humiliating proportions: His save on a curl by Luis Alberto in the 44th minute earned him his share of applause from the stands. Sampdoria’s only sign of life came from a shot by Gianluca Caprari which Lazio’s keeper deflected in a corner.
In the second half, Claudio Ranieri changed Jakub Jankto with Albin Ekdal, while Simone Inzaghi had to send in Bastos in place of injured Stefan Radu. The Angolan defender, served by Lucas Leiva, went on to score the fourth goal of the day, and second in a row for him after his conversion in a Coppa Italia 4-0 win against Cremonese on Tuesday.
In the 58th minute, 20-year-old Bobby Adekanye replaced Felipe Caicedo, who left the Olimpico among the applauses of his supporters. Lazio, however, continued to push and found the net for the fifth time when the VAR confirmed a handball by Omar Colley in the box and sent Immobile on the spot again. Ciro buried it, obviously, to collect his 13th career goal against Sampdoria. For some reason, the poor Blucerchiati seem to be his favorite victim.
Samp’s only goal came in the 70th minute when Karol Linetty tapped in from a save by Thomas Strakosha on a Manolo Gabbiadini shot. A meager consolation for the Genoan side, which fell back dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Claudio Ranieri’s words at full-time summed it all up: “I will put some oil, salt, and pepper on them this evening and eat them alive.”
He was talking about his players.
January 18, 2020 – Serie A 2019-2020 Round 20
SCORERS: 7′ Caicedo (L), 17′ Immobile (L, pen.), 20′ Immobile (L), 53′ Bastos (L), 64′ Immobile (L, pen.), 70′ Linetty (S)
|LAZIO (3-5-2): Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi (65′ Vavro), Radu (48′ Bastos); Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas Leiva, Luis Alberto, Jony; Caicedo (58′ Adekanye), Immobile (Proto, Guerrieri, A. Anderson, D. Anderson, Berisha, Correa, Luiz Felipe, Minala, Parolo) Coach: Inzaghi|
|SAMPDORIA (4-4-2): Audero; Bereszynski, Chabot, Colley, Murru (67′ Augello); Linetty, Thorsby, Vieira, Jankto (46′ Ekdal); Gabbiadini (70′ Bonazzoli), Caprari (Seculin, Bertolacci, Falcone, Lleris, Maroni, Quagliarella, Regini, Rigoni, Rocha) Coach: Ranieri|
REFEREE: Mr. Chiffi from Padova
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Adekanye (L), Vieira, Colley (S); Red Card: Chabot (S); Extra Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 0′