Forgotten striker Bassem Morsi scored twice to open his account this season as Zamalek extended their winning run in the Egyptian League to seven matches following a 4-1 home win over 10-man Ragaa on Wednesday.
Morsi, making a rare start, doubled Zamalek's lead in the first half and completed the rout with eight minutes remaining to keep alive his hopes of making Egypt's squad for the World Cup, having fallen out of favour after a series of disappointing displays and an injury-prone spell this term.
His last goal with Zamalek was in an African Champions League game game against Libya's Ahli Tripoli in July 2017.
Winger Ahmed Madbouli and central midfielder Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz were also on target as Zamalek, who are eyeing a second-place finish to qualify for the African Champions League, scored four goals in a single match for the first time this season. Ragaa netted a stoppage-time consolation via a penalty from Hamada Nasser.
The Cairo giants, who surrendered the title to arch-rivals Ahly, moved second with 54 points, one ahead of Ismaily who could regain their position if they beat Petrojet on Thursday.
Ragaa, who had Mohamed Gabr dismissed in the second half for a second bookable offence, remain second from bottom on 22 points, seven adrift of safety with just five matches remaining.
Morsi had a header tipped over by the keeper after five minutes before Madbouli gave Zamalek a deserved lead in the 12th minute, collecting a pass inside the area before turning and hitting a delightful low shot into the bottom corner for his fourth league goal of the season.
It was Morsi's turn to finally break his duck, doubling Zamalek's advantage eight minutes later after firing home in a goal-mouth scramble following some fine individual work from diminutive right-back Hazem Emam.
Midfielder Abdel-Aziz killed off Ragaa's hopes with a third goal in the 33rd minute, his dipping shot from the edge of the area beating the keeper at his near post.
Ragaa's misery was compounded when defender Gabr received his marching orders for a reckless lunge on Zamalek defender Mahmoud Alaa two minutes past the hour mark.
Morsi could have scored his second of the night on a couple of occasions shortly following Gabr's dismissal.
He shook off a couple of challengers just inside the area, with his shot forcing a brilliant save from the keeper before rattling the crossbar with a powerful drive from eight yards out.
He made amends in the 82nd minute though with a simple close-range finish after a cut-back from Madbouli.
Nasser converted a penalty in stoppage time awarded after he was tripped by Zamalek goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawi but it was a mere consolation for Ragaa, who are facing an uphill climb to remain in the top flight.
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