LONDON • Romelu Lukaku made a big statement in the race to finish as the English Premier League's top scorer this season, bagging four goals in Everton's staggering 6-3 home victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.
He has now netted 16 times in the league, one clear of Chelsea's Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal.
The imposing Belgian opened the scoring with a superb curling goal after 30 seconds - equalling the record for the fastest league goal of the season set by Chelsea's Pedro against Manchester United.
He bagged a second before the break and added goals three and four in the final 10 minutes of a breathless, thrilling encounter.
The former Chelsea forward was unplayable throughout, combining brute strength with eye-catching skill and subtle touches and provided the assist for James McCarthy's goal in a near-flawless individual performance.
"Romelu showed that he is one of the best finishers in football," Everton boss Ronald Koeman told the BBC.
"Scoring is one of his big qualities. We need to support him, to create. We can improve, but he showed his best today."
The rare nine-goal feast was capped by an extraordinary celebration. Everton midfielder Ross Barkley raised both hands in the air before he put the ball in the net for his team's sixth of the day.
"It's disappointing we conceded the goals, but we showed mental resilience," said Lukaku, after the hosts allowed Joshua King (two goals) and Harry Arter to get on the scoresheet.
"We need to see the clips again because if you want to improve, we need to get rid of the little problems."