An opportunist goal from Ali Maaloul in the second half gave newly-crowned champions Ahly a 1-0 victory over Zamalek in the Cairo derby on the final day of the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.
The Tunisian left-back further enhanced his fan favourite status when he pounced on a dreadful blunder from Zamalek keeper Emad El-Sayed, who deputized for Mahmoud Gennesh as the first-choice goalie nurses a long-term injury, to drill home the winner on 59 minutes.
The goal came against the run of play as Zamalek were punished for wasting several goal-scoring chances, missing out on the chance to grab a consolation win after Ahly bridged an eight-point gap over their cross-town rivals to snatch the league title from under their noses in the previous round.
Ahly pressed Zamalek high up the pitch in the first half but the strategy hardly proved fruitful, with the White Knights looking more dangerous.
While Ahly dominated possession, Zamalek were the closer to break the deadlock, with some of their counter attacks unsettling the Red Devils' backline.
Zamalek wasted two chances to go ahead, with the first coming as early as the seventh minute when a superb threaded pass from Ferjani Sassi from the halfway line released Mohamed Ibrahim, but keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi charged out in a timely manner to make a sliding tackle and clear the danger.
Winger Ahmed Sayed was also found unmarked by a cross from Tunisian right-back Hamdi Nagguez but headed wide in the 28th minute.
Zamalek had to make an unscripted substitution, with key defender Mahmoud Alaa making way for Mahmoud Hamdi after appearing dizzy following an aerial collision with Ahly's Rami Rabia.
They squandered their best chance early in the second half when lone striker Omar El-Said blasted high over with the goal gaping after El-Shennawi parried a pull-back from Nagguez into his path.
Ahly punished Zamalek for their wastefulness when El-Sayed fumbled a tame free kick from Walid Soliman and Maaloul bundled home the rebound.
Zamalek were guilty of another glaring miss just two minutes later when Mohamed Ibrahim broke clear following a quickly-taken free kick but his weak shot was saved by El-Shennawi's legs.
Ahly launched some dangerous attacks in the latter stages and substitute Saleh Gomaa missed a sitter after a fine individual effort from Ramadan Sobhi but they still got the job done in Alexandria to finish the season in the best possible way.
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