Substitute Ahmed 'Zizo' Sayed struck at the death to spare the blushes of a weakened Zamalek side, who came from behind to earn a 3-2 away win over promoted Tanta in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.
Zizo, who also had a hand in the equaliser a few minutes earlier, slid in to find an empty net following two rebounds as he and his teammates celebrated wildly.
Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron made wholesale changes to his line-up, opting to rest a handful of key players before Friday's African Champions League game at home to Zambia's Zesco United.
Despite taking a 19-minute lead via a goal from lone striker Omar El-Saied, Zamalek flirted with defeat after Walid Adel capitalized on a defensive lapse to equalise on the stroke of halftime before converting a penalty to put Tanta ahead in the second half.
The introduction of Zizo and winger Mostafa Fathi made all the difference as the duo combined to breach Tanta's tight defence and give Zamalek a precious win, their second in a row after they beat Aswan 2-0 last week.
Zizo helped set up Moroccan winger Mohamed Ounajem for his first goal since joining the club in the summer before turning to scorer two minutes into stoppage time.
Zamalek, who have made a stuttering start to the season, moved up to third with 21 points, five behind second-placed Arab Contractors who played a game more. Leaders Ahly, who played two matches less than Zamalek, top the table with 27 points.
Against run of play
Tanta, who lie 15th in the 18-team table, had the better of the first half despite falling behind and could have gone ahead as early as the seventh minute when forward Mohamed Onnosh blasted over the bar from close range after a flick found him unmarked.
But Zamalek went in front against the run of play when Eslam Gaber robbed a full-back and fed El-Said, who drilled a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Adel brought Tanta level just before halftime when he sneaked between two markers to neatly control a lofted through ball and beat keeper Mohamed Sobhi with an angled shot.
He then sent Sobhi the wrong way from the spot after a Tanta forward was tripped in the area to make it 2-1 on 69 minutes.
Zamalek staged a late revival to down a plucky Tanta side.
Ounajem, who has yet to win over Zamalek fans following some lackluster displays, controlled an inviting cross from Zizo at the far post, skipped past a challenger with a fine feint and fired into the roof of the net three minutes from time.
Zizo then broke the hosts' hearts with a vital winner to ensure Zamalek would not have an embarrassing day.
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