Zamalek made it three wins out of three matches under new coach Mido after claiming a 1-0 victory over modest Ittihad El-Shorta in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday although their displays remain insipid.
A first-half goal by winger Mahmoud Kahraba was enough to give Zamalek all three points but it was Shikabala who stole the show with a solid display in his third spell with the Cairo giants, having ended a disastrous spell at Portugal's Sporting and a brief loan stint with Ismaily to re-join his boyhood club in January.
The 29-year-old was a constant thorn in El-Shorta side throughout the match and had a hand in the solitary goal as Mido enjoyed his third successive win after returning to the club he led to the Egypt Cup title in 2014 but lost the more prestigious league to bitter rivals Ahly.
With Zamalek ending Ahly's eight-season hegemony last term under Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira, former Tottenham Hotspur striker Mido is keen to retain the title as he embarks on a coaching journey which he hopes would take him to European football again.
Zamalek moved joint top with 27 points, on level with Maqassa who played two matches more. Ahly are one point behind Zamalek in third after being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by Dakhleya on Thursday.
El-Shorta, who remain winless after 13 games, are third from bottom with eight points.
Tribute to Hamada Emam
During the warm-up, Zamalek players wore shirts bearing the picture of iconic figure Hamada Emam, who died last Saturday at the age of 73.
The out-of-sorts Bassem Morsi, Zamalek's top scorer last season who is yet to open his account this term after some disappointing displays, had a free header saved by El-Shorta keeper Amr Hossam but Kahraba made amends on the quarter hour mark.
An attempted defensive clearance following a Shikabala cross found Kahraba at the far post and he sent an exquisite curling shot into the far corner of the net, taking his tally to six league goals, just one behind joint league top scorers Marwan Mohsen of Ismaily and Stanley Ohawuchi of Wadi Degla.
El-Shorta could have restored parity immediately after falling behind when they played on while Zamalek players were still celebrating with football director Hazem Emam, son of the late Hamada Emam, on the touchline but they were thwarted by keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi following a one-on-one situation.
The wasted effort sparked a furious reaction from Mido, who argued with the referee that it was not legitimate to allow El-Shorta to kick-start the game before all players got back to action.
But Zamalek remained in control and were unlucky not to go to the dressing room two up when El-Shorta's Hossam superbly blocked a curling free kick from Shikabala on 34 minutes.
Zamalek eased off in the second half, creating a couple of half-chances through Shikabala and substitute Mostafa Fathi. El-Shorta pushed forward but they failed to carve out any openings in a dour period.
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