Mostafa Fathi continued his habit of scoring off the bench when his late scissors kick gave Zamalek their fourth consecutive win in as many games under coach Mido following a 1-0 victory over a plucky Masry side in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old, whom Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour said earlier in the day would not be allowed to leave for less than four million euros, netted the decisive winner with seven minutes remaining following his 64th-minute introduction.
Winger Mahmoud Kahraba floated in a cross that was flicked twice, firstly by Mohamed Ibrahim and then by striker Bassem Morsi, to find Fathi whose left-footed first-timer left the keeper with no chance and sparked wild celebrations on the touchline at Ismailia's stadium.
Mido jumped for joy after Zamalek had struggled for long periods to mount serious threats in another dull display despite the embarrassment of riches upfront.
Masry were unlucky not to secure a share of spoils when they were denied by the bar in the dying minutes in a frenetic end to the game.
The win maintained Zamalek's 100 percent record under former Tottenham Hotspur, Ajax, Marseille and AS Roma striker Mido who is keen to retain the league title which the White Knights won last season under Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira.
Zamalek moved back to the top with 30 points, one ahead of Cairo rivals Ahly who were briefly on the summit earlier on Wednesday after they claimed a 1-0 win over Ismaily.
Masry, whose coach Hossam Hassan was not on the touchline due to a one-game ban, remain fourth on 26 points.
Chances were few and far between in an evenly-balanced first half. Zamalek played without a recognized striker but their line-up included three talented deep-lying forwards and a shadow frontman in Mahmoud Kahraba.
However, Masry often cut supply lines in midfield, leaving Zamalek's forwards largely isolated.
The hosts wasted the first real chance after five minutes when Ahmed Yasser fired high over from close range following a low cross from Ahmed Kaboria.
Zamalek's only first-half chance fell to Kahraba, who was fed by an astute pass from Ayman Hefni to break clear but the ball slipped far after an unsuccessful attempt to control it, with goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh rushing out to thwart him.
Mido introduced Morsi, Fathi and Mohamed Ibrahim in a bid to inject zeal and the substitutions paid dividends.
Fathi almost broke the deadlock when he cut inside from the right and sent a curling shot that narrowly missed the target on 70 minutes but he made amends seven minutes from time in emphatic fashion, sending an unstoppable bicycle kick past the despairing dive of the keeper.
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