Understudy keeper Mahmoud "Gennesh" was the hero as Zamalek edged out Smouha on penalties at Alexandria Stadium to set up a clash with arch-rivals Ahly in the Egypt Cup final.
Following a regular-time goalless draw, Zamalek needed some goalkeeping heroics from Gennesh to overcome a resilient Smouha with a 4-3 shootout win.
The Zamalek keeper managed to thwart the Alexandrians three times in the penalty shootout after pulling off some crucial saves to keep a clean sheet during the 90 minutes.
Reigning Egypt Cup champions Zamalek now qualify for the competition's final for the third time in a row, as they eye their third straight title.
The league holders' meeting with Ahly will be their third this season, as the perennial rivals may also lock horns in the CAF Confederation Cup should both teams make it to the competition's double-legged final.
An out-of-sorts Zamalek side looked vulnerable early on, and Gennesh was called into action twice inside the opening 10 minutes to preserve a clean sheet.
Zamalek suffered from too much spaces between their lines, with their midfield incapable of moving the ball forward frequently enough towards the attacking trio - which featured Mahmoud Kahraba, Bassem Morsi and Ahmed Hamoudi.
And Smouha managed to take advantage of the league champions' dismal form, and again Gennesh was there to deny ex-Zamalek and Ahly striker Hani El-Egeizi just two minutes from half-time.
With fans expecting radical changes in the side, Zamalek did not look quite a different team after the break - suffering from the same problems of the first half.
After seven minutes, it was Zamalek to pose a threat on the goal this time, with Hamoudi missing the target following some good work from Kahraba.
With the Whites still struggling for fluency, manager Jesualdo Ferreira opted to make a couple of changes, introducing Mohamed Ibrahim and Mostafa Fathi instead of the ineffectual Hamoudi and Morsi.
Still, Zamalek failed to redeem themselves, and the hosts could have snatched a precious winner one minute from time when Mahmoud Fathi missed the target, before sub Ahmed Hassan Mekki saw a free kick narrowly go wide.
Both teams then headed to penalties, where Zamalek edged out a gutsy Smouha side to book a berth in the domestic cup final.
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