Angolan winger Geraldo came off the bench to score deep in stoppage time as leaders Ahly continued their habit of chalking up late wins to beat resilient Smouha 1-0 and maintain their fine run in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday.
With Smouha restricting Ahly to a few chances over 90 minutes, Geraldo came to their rescue eight minutes into the injury time, firing an angled shot home after the ball ricocheted into his path following a goalmouth scramble.
The goal sparked furious protests from Smouha coach Hossam Hassan, Egypt's all-time leading scorer who harangued the referee in protest at what he perceived excessive stoppage time.
However, he could have few complaints after Smouha players resorted to some time-wasting antics in the second half.
Leaders Ahly have 70 points from 30 games, five ahead of second-placed Pyramids (31 matches) and seven clear of main challengers and Cairo rivals Zamalek, who still have two matches in hand.
Smouha are fourth from bottom on 35 points, just one above the relegation zone.
Ahly's forwards were well shackled by Smouha defenders for the majority of the first half but when the Red Devils finally managed to find some spaces, keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal was on alert to thwart them.
He pulled off a couple of fine saves to block shots from Ramadan Sobhi and Ahmed Fathi before collecting a weak effort from Moroccan striker Walid Azaro, who was found unmarked by a pull-back from Ahly's record signing Hussein El-Shahat, who has yet to prove his worth following his January arrival.
In the second half, Ahly had some half chances, with Sobhi sending a weak free header into the keeper's hands and midfielder Amr El-Sulaya sending a volley high over.
Marwan Mohsen had a header cleared off the line in the frantic final minutes but Geraldo had the last word, blasting in home after a defensive clearance struck the keeper and found him amid a crowd of defenders, who desperately tried to block his shot.
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