Serie A leading scorer Ciro Immobile scored a hattrick, taking his tally to 34 league goals this season, as Lazio came from behind to thump Verona 5-1 away on Sunday.
The 30-year-old converted two penalties and scored with a majestic curling shot to leave him two goals short of Gonzalo Higuain's record of 36 goals in a Serie A season with two matches to play.
The hattrick means the Italy striker has drawn level with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski in the race to be crowned Europe's top goal scorer.
Both players now have 34 goals but Immobile still has two games to play against Brescia and Napoli. Lewandowski's Bundesliga season is already over. However, the tiebreaker is based on the ratio of goals scored per minute played and in the event of a tie that includes the Poland international, Lewandowski would win.
The Bundesliga has 34 games per season and Lewandowski played in 31. Serie A plays four more matches each season and so far, Immobile has appeared in 35 games missing only one on account of a yellow card suspension.
After Lewandowski had played in the last Bundesliga game of the season on June 27, he enjoyed what seemed to be a comfortable lead. Immobile was 7 goals behind and Ronaldo 11 behind.
Immobile had made an impressive start to the 2019/20 season with 25 goals from the first 22 Serie A games -- two goals more than the Poland striker. However, goals stopped flowing freely and it looked like his chance had gone. That is until five goals in the last three matches resurrected his drive for the Golden Boot.
Not for the first time in his career Cristiano Ronaldo started slowly with just 5 goals in his first 10 Serie A games. Then, the afterburners kicked in with 26 goals coming in his last 22 games. His latest goal came in a 2-0 win over Sampdoria that clinched Juventus' 9th consecutive Serie A title. However, Ronaldo will regret a golden chance to add another goal after missing a late penalty kick that struck the crossbar.
Immobile and Ronaldo are also involved in another scoring battle -- to score more goals in a top-flight Italian season than any other player. The record is 36 goals in a season held by Gino Rossetti for Torino in 1928–29 and Gonzalo Higuaín for Napoli in 2015–16. Three players Ferenc Hirzer, Julio Libonatti and Gunnar Nordahl each scored 35 goals.