Ailing Cairo giants Zamalek lost further ground in the race to finish second after conceding a stoppage-time goal to lose 1-0 to Maqassa in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.
A bullet header from defender Ahmed Sami three minutes into the additional time gave Maqassa a deserved win over a poor Zamalek side, who slumped to a second consecutive defeat that dented their hopes of earning a spot at next year's African Champions League.
The reverse against Maqassa compounds the misery of a Zamalek side who were also eliminated from the African Confederation Cup at the first hurdle after a shootout loss to Ethiopia's Wolaitta Dicha last month.
The White Knights failed to capitalize on a slip-up by Ismaily, their challengers for the second-spot, after the latter were held to a 1-1 draw by Talae El-Geish on Saturday.
Ismaily have now extended their lead over third-placed Zamalek to six points with only four matches remaining.
Zamalek were lucky not to concede a first-half goal, with Maqassa dominating proceedings.
Ghanaian striker John Antwi almost gave Maqassa a 15th-minute lead, only to head just wide after being picked out unmarked.
Zamalek keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi was also on alert to thwart two shots from Salah Rico and Mahmoud Wahid as Maqassa outplayed their hapless opponents.
The second half was a bore affair but only sprang into life in the last 15 minutes as both sides wasted a clear-cut chance to snatch a winner.
Off-form striker Bassem Morsi, once a regular Egypt player, spurned Zamalek's only goal-scoring opportunity in the 75th minute when he was released by a pass from substitute Youssef Ibrahim, only to skew his shot high over with the goal at his mercy.
At the other end, Paulin Voavy mis-hit his shot with the goal at his mercy after a recurring defensive lapse but Sami made amends to head in the winner for Maqassa after a floated free kick.
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