Striker Bassem Morsi scored twice and substitute Ahmed Ali added a late third as Zamalek came from a goal down to claim an exciting 3-2 win over Ragaa in Alexandria which sent them to the Egyptian Premier League summit on Sunday.
The White Knights, whose run of six successive clean sheets ended at the hands of Ragaa, have 18 points from eight matches, one ahead of second-placed ENPPI. Masry also have 17 points but they have played a game more.
Zamalek claimed their fourth straight win under Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco despite suffering from the absence of some key players through injuries.
Mohamed Abou-Gabal made his first appearance with Zamalek this season after replacing injured goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy, as did new arrival Mohamed Shaaban who took the place of midfielder Ibrahim Salah, one of the team's most consistent performers who picked up an injury in Egypt's African Cup of Nations qualifying loss to Senegal last week.
Pacheco fielded two strikers for the first time after replacing coach Hossam Hassan, to cover for the absence of lively winger Hazem Emam and playmaker Ayman Hefni, who were both ruled out of the game due to injury.
The hosts stunned Zamalek in the 21st-minute when striker Tarek Salem benefited from a rare defensive lapse from Zamalek's Burkinabe defender Mohamed Koffi, who has otherwise produced a solid display at the back.
A free kick from the left eluded the defence and fell to Salem, who swiveled and fired home from close range despite being closely marked by Koffi.
Zamalek's energetic striker Bassem Mosi, who has recently vented his frustration at the bench role he has largely played since his summer arrival, came close to notching the equaliser four minutes later but his shot from inside the area went over the bar.
He made amends in the 28th minute when he powered a powerful header home following a superb corner from Mohamed Shaaban.
Pacheco introduced striker Ahmed Ali instead of the disappointing Khaled Qamar and veteran attacking midfielder Ahmed Eid also came on in the second halfas the Portuguese sought to beef up his attack.
Koffi won a penalty for Zamalek in the 70th minute when his overhead kick was denied by the flailing arm of Ragaa's Amr Nabil, with Morsi sending the keeper the wrong way to put the visitors in front.
Ragaa midfielder Assem Salem almost restored parity five minutes later but headed over the bar with the goal at his mercy and the hosts were punished when substitute Ahmed Ali headed home in injury time after some good work from Moemen Zakareya, who made a darting run before sending in a pinpoint cross.
Ragaa's Ahmed Kaiser narrowed the gap in the dying seconds but it was too little, too late as Zamalek held on for another win.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)