New coach Ehab Galal was given his first win in three matches after two goals from Kabongo Kasongo and debutant Emad Fathi gave Zamalek a 2-1 win over Dakhleya in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday.
Congolese forward Kasongo scored a scrappy goal in the first half to take his tally to four league goals and give Zamalek the lead. He was replaced in the second half after picking up an injury.
Winger Fathi, who joined Zamalek from Galal's former club Maqassa in the January transfer window, added the second just past the hour mark but Dakhleya narrowed the gap with a 77th-minute goal from Nasser Mansi following a defensive mistake.
But the White Knights held onto their lead to snap a three-match winless, with Galal enjoying his first win after his first two games ended in a 3-0 defeat by Ahly in the Cairo derby and a 0-0 draw with El-Entag El-Harby.
Zamalek revived their hopes of earning an African Champions League spot as they moved third with 32 points, nine behind Ismaily who slumped to a 2-0 defeat by Arab Contractors on Wednesday.
With Zamalek almost losing hopes of catching Ahly on top, their only Champions League hope lies in finishing second.
Zamalek gave a debut to new arrival Fathi and the team looked livelier than the past two matches, although they created a few goal-scoring chances.
Kasongo broke the deadlock in the 38th minute, although his first touch let him down.
He could not control a pass from Nigerian midfielder Maarouf Yussuf but pounced on the keeper's inability to gather the ball to bundle it over the line.
Yussuf almost made it 2-0 three minutes before the break when he superbly forced his way between two defenders, only to see his angled low shot blocked by the keeper.
Fathi doubled Zamalek's lead in the 61st minute when he skipped past his challenger down the left, cut inside and sent in a curling cross that nestled into the far corner of the net.
Zamalek looked to be cruising to a comfortable win but they endured a nervy finish after Dakhleya pulled one back with 13 minutes remaining.
Central defender Mahmoud Hamdi tumbled under pressure from Mansi while trying to clear a long ball, with the forward breaking clear to fire past Ahmed El-Shennawi with the outside of his right foot.
But Zamalek held on and wasted a couple of chances in the dying minutes.
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