- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

MILAN (AP) - Without a win in seven matches and knocked out of the Italian Cup by a second-division side, Roma is very much in crisis.

Roma has not won in any competition since beating Lazio in the capital derby on Nov. 8, and it crashed out of the Cup on Wednesday, losing 4-2 on penalties to Serie B side Spezia after the match ended goalless.

Roma has slipped on the table to fifth, and reports in Italy say coach Rudi Garcia will be sacked if he fails to beat Genoa in the final match before the winter break on Sunday.

“Playing well or badly doesn’t matter, we need a victory on Sunday,” Garcia said. “This run without a win has to end, it’s enough now, we have to put things right.

“We haven’t conceded in three matches, but we’ve lost our balance given that we’re not scoring anymore, and to win matches you need to score.”

Genoa was also upset midweek, as it was knocked out the Cup by third-division side Alessandria.

Here are some things to know about this weekend’s Italian league matches:

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MERRY CHRISTMAS: Whatever happens against Lazio on Sunday, Inter is certain to head into the winter break on top of Serie A.

Inter is four points clear of second-place Fiorentina and Napoli.

“It’s good you find yourself top at this point of the season, but what’s most important is to be high up at the end of the season,” Inter coach Roberto Mancini joked.

Inter has not been on top at Christmas since 2010, when it won the treble.

STAYING AWAY: Roma’s stadium has not been full all season, with the hard-core fans staying away in protest, but the Stadio Olimpico could be completely empty on Sunday.

Roma and Lazio fans have been boycotting matches all season in protest at security measures that have split the Olimpico “curve” - the ends of the stadium where “ultra” fans sit.

A statement from Roma’s ultras after the team’s embarrassing Cup exit was highly critical of the club, and asked fans from other sectors to join them in their protest.

The Curva Sud invites all the sectors of the stadium to remain at home. “Total indifference,” it read. “There are right ways and wrongs ways of losing on the pitch, you lost without dignity, without fighting, without breaking sweat, without love. You have vanished in our view. You are all guilty.”

The fans who have attended have jeered the team, and called for Garcia to go.

BEND IT LIKE PIRLO: Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has kept on getting better since joining from Manchester United in 2012.

He appears to have added another string to his bow, after scoring with a fantastic free kick in the 4-0 Cup victory over city rival Torino midweek.

The France international immediately paid tribute to free-kick specialist and former teammate Andrea Pirlo.

“I have been practicing my free kicks a lot recently,” Pogba said. “Andrea taught me so much when he was here so I feel I should thank him for my goal tonight.”

Juventus, which has rocketed up the table to fourth, will be hoping for a seventh consecutive victory when it visits relegation-threatened Carpi.

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