A second-half goal from Amr El-Sulaya gave Ahly their sixth straight Egyptian Premier League win as they beat 10-man El-Entag El-Harby 1-0 to keep up pressure on the competition's leading duo on Saturday.
The central midfielder made the most of a defensive mistake to fire in the winner early in the second half and Ahly's task was made easier in the 66th minute when El-Entag's Mahmoud Hamada was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Ramadan Sobhi in an off-the-ball incident.
The Red Devils spurned several goal-scoring chances to kill off the game but they will still be content to bag all three points, especially following last week's disappointment of suffering a stunning 1-0 defeat at Tanzania's Simba in the African Champions League.
They are third in the table with 42 points, just three short of Pyramids who played three matches more and six behind leaders and arch-rivals Zamalek, who meet Enppi on Sunday.
El-Entag missed out on the chance of breaking into the top four as they lie fifth on 31 points, on level with Arab Contractors who have a better goal difference.
Ahly mounted relentless pressure from the outset but clear-cut chances were hard to come by in the first half.
Their only real opportunity before the break came on 38 minutes when winger Hussein El-Shahat, who joined Ahly in a record deal last month, ghosted behind the defence to gather a threaded pass but hit the side netting with the goal at his mercy.
But the breakthrough came four minutes into the second period when a sliding tackle from El-Entag's diminutive left-back Ahmed Shedid slipped the ball into the path of the unmarked El-Sulaya in the area to slot home with a low first-time effort.
Hamada's dismissal allowed Ahly to create chances at will as they took complete control.
Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi, who was unusually disappointing, mis-hit his shot when played clean through and astonishingly opted to square the ball to Ramadan Sobhi when well-positioned to score following another neat move, with the defence clearing the danger.
El-Entag keeper Amer Mohamed also blocked a goal-bound header and El-Sulaya sent another free header over the bar shortly after.
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