Argentina midfielder Esteban Cambiasso is out of Inter Milan's final league match of the season against Parma on Sunday due to an ankle injury, Italian press reported on Monday.
The 27-year-old's loss is a big blow to the leaders and champions who have been showing signs of cracking in the title run-in.
Two matches ago they looked stone-cold certainties to land a third straight title as they needed only three points from their final three games to be crowned champions.
But they lost the derby against AC Milan and were then held to a 2-2 draw at home by Siena on Sunday.
That has allowed AS Roma to close the gap at the top from six points to one with just one match remaining.
Both teams have tricky final matches away to clubs fighting for their Serie A survival.
Parma have to beat Inter or they will be relegated while Roma travel to Catania, who can ensure their safety if they win.
Cambiasso, who was injured against Siena, will apparently also miss the Italian Cup final on May 24 against Roma.
Meanwhile Parma, who sit in the bottom three and risk losing their Serie A status, announced on Monday that they had taken a collective vow of silence ahead of this weekend's crunch clash.
Neither Argentine coach Hector Cuper, a former Inter boss, nor the players will speak to the media until after Sunday's match.
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