Two stoppage-time goals from Ali Maaloul and substitute Saleh Gomaa helped Ahly move top for the first time this season with 2-0 win over a resolute Ittihad side in the Egyptian Premier League on Tuesday.
Although Ahly struggled to create clear-cut chances as Ittihad defended doggedly, Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul ended their resistance two minutes into injury time with a powerful volley.
Gomaa, making a rare appearance, added another goal just before the final whistle after some brilliant individual work from Ramadan Sobhi, who is on loan from Huddersfield Town.
The win lifted Ahly to the summit with 55 points, one ahead of title challengers and Cairo nemesis Zamalek who can regain their position on top if they beat Smouha on Wednesday as an exciting race seems to be going down to the wire. Ittihad remain ninth on 32 points.
The victory was a sweet revenge for an Ahly side who slumped to a surprise 4-3 defeat by Ittihad in the reverse league fixture in October last year.
Ahly's Hussein El-Shahat shot from a tight angle when he should have crossed on 21 minutes, with his effort saved by keeper El-Hani Soliman, while a long-range volley from Nasser Maher went wide of the post in the first half.
It was Ittihad who created the half's best chance on 36 minutes though when youngster Ammar Hamdi, who is on loan from Ahly, superbly skipped past defender Yasser Ibrahim in the area after collecting a low cross from the left, only for keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi to rush out and smother his attempted chip.
Ahly piled on pressure in the latter stages but found it hard to unlock the defence until the stoppage time when a cross from Angolan winger Geraldo found Maaloul on the edge of the area to fire home a volley after it struck the hands of keeper El-Hani Soliman.
Gomaa put the icing on the cake with a simple tap-in from a Sobhi pull-back after the winger ran half of the length of the pitch and beat two challengers in the process.
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