Ismaily needed a late header from central defender Moatasem Salem to beat Harras El-Hodoud 3-2 and thwart a brave comeback from their opponents in the Egyptian Premier League on Friday.
The Dervishes ensured they would remain in the title hunt after closing the gap on league leaders Zamalek to two points. The Cairo club could regain their five-point advantage if they beat El-Entag El-Harby later in the day.
Nigerian striker Ndubuisi Godwin put Ismaili ahead after 20 minutes with a close-range finish after making the most of a cross from right-back Ahmed Sedik.
Striker Mohsen Abou-Greisha doubled their advantage four minutes later when he latched onto a deft through-pass from Godwin, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net.
Ismaily looked in firm control but Hodoud scored against the run of play to halve the deficit in the 35th minute, thanks to a powerful header from striker Ahmed Mekky.
The visitors further silenced the home crowd when Ahmed Abdel-Ghany ghosted behind Ismaili’s backline to meet a neat pass from Egyptian international forward Ahmed Eid with a superb first-timer that left keeper Mohamed Sobhy with no chance.
The match looked as though it was heading for a draw but Salem, who stayed put despite widespread reports linking him with a move to Zamalek, towered above his marker to head home a corner and spark wild celebrations in the stands.