Mahmoud Shikabala, adulated by Zamalek's fans, produced a display reminiscent of his dazzling best to give the club a convincing 3-0 win over Arab Contractors in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday.
The talented winger, who was often criticized for failing to live up to his potential, scored and dished out an assist as Zamalek atoned for a disappointing 0-0 draw at Ismaily last week, handing new coach Mohamed Salah his first win following the resignation of Moemen Soliman.
Shikabala's cross helped Nigerian forward Stanley Ohawuchi open his account in the domestic league, having scored twice in the African Champions League following his summer loan move from Wadi Degla, as Zamalek went to the locker room 1-0 up.
Defensive midfielder Ibrahim Salah netted a rare goal and Shikabala curled home in the space of two minutes late in the second half as Zamalek kept their unbeaten run in seven league games, having been held to two draws.
Shikabala, 30, was substituted in the latter stages after a breathtaking display of footwork, sparking cheers from a small fan contingent that was allowed to attend the match at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium amid a long-standing crowd ban.
Zamalek, who have four games in hand, moved to sixth place in the table with 17 points. Contractors are 11th on 13 points.
Zamalek played with a three-pronged attack featuring Zambian striker Emmanuel Mayuka, who made a rare start, winger Shikabala and Stanley.
The latter duo combined on several occasions to unsettle the visitors' backline and it was a right-wing cross from Shikabala that helped Stanley open the scoring after 19 minutes.
Shikabala floated in a cross with his left foot, with Stanley's initial header blocked by the keeper before he stabbed home on the rebound.
The Nigerian almost made it 2-0 six minutes later when a weak kick by the Contractors keeper rebounded off him but his subsequent long ball missed the target with the goal gaping.
Contractors still looked lively upfront after falling behind but went close once in the first half when Mohamed Farouk's shot from a tight angle was palmed away by Zamalek keeper Mahmoud Gennesh after he was released by a through pass.
Zamalek were in total control in the second half, dominating possession and penning Contractors into their own half.
Ibrahim Salah made their dominance count on 76 minutes with a firm header from just inside the area after being picked out unmarked by an inch-perfect cross from right-back Hosni Fathi.
Shikabala ended the match as a contest one minute later when he finished off a fast breakaway, curling the ball past the despairing dive of the keeper after being fed by substitute Bassem Morsi.
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