A brilliant acrobatic goal from off-form striker Bassem Morsi kept alive Zamalek's slim hopes of defending their Egyptian Premier League title following a 1-0 home win over second-from-bottom Haras El-Hodoud on Tuesday.
Morsi's early strike was only his third goal of the season, having suffered a huge slump in form after finishing as Zamalek's top scorer last term with 18 goals to help the Cairo giants to their first title since 2004.
Despite taking an early lead, Zamalek were once again below-par in a scrappy match with few goal-scoring chances. They at least managed to finally claim all three points after a defeat by Ismaily and a draw with Dakhleya in their previous two matches.
The second-placed side are still a massive 11 points behind leaders and archrivals Ahly, who came from a goal down to defeat Smouha 3-1 in Alexandria earlier in the day, with 10 matches remaining.
Zamalek needed seven minutes to open the scoring in superb fashion, with Morsi chesting a floated cross from winger Mahmoud Kahraba before sending an overhead kick past the stranded keeper from eight yards out.
They failed to build on their early lead, controlling possession but struggling to mount any threats in a dull affair.
El-Hodoud were also helpless but they came close to restoring parity on the stroke of halftime when striker Mohamed Farouk met a cross with a first-timer that narrowly missed the target.
The second half was no different but Zamalek could have killed off the visitors' hopes on a couple of occasions.
Kaharaba was sent clean through on goal following a deft pass from Nigerian midfielder Maarouf Yussuf but continued his trademark profligacy in front of goal after blasting over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Left-back Adel Gomaa also missed a sitter in the latter stages but Zamalek held onto their slender lead to bag a much-needed win.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)