An early screamer from Abdallah Gomaa gave Zamalek a 1-0 win over Maqassa on Wednesday that lifted them to the Egypt Cup semis as they chase their sixth title in seven years.
The diminutive left-back, one of Zamalek's best performers this season, let fly from distance to give Serbian coach Micho his second win at the helm after he enjoyed a winning start against Somalia's Dekedaha in the African Champions League preliminary round.
The title holders wasted several clear-cut chances to put the result beyond doubt but Maqassa never looked like scoring in their first match under the guidance of ex Zamalek striker Mido.
The White Knights will face Alexandria-based club Ittihad in the semis.
Zamalek needed 10 minutes to go ahead, Gomaa's swerving left-foot effort from 25 yards striking the fingertips of goalkeeper Ahmed Adel to nestle into the top corner.
With Maqassa offering little in attack, Zamalek kept pushing forward and could have doubled their lead on at least two occasions before the break.
Playmaker Achraf Bencharki, one of two Moroccans to join Zamalek in the summer along with Mohamed Ounajem, who made his debut against Maqassa, drilled a shot wide with the goal at his mercy after intercepting a poor pass out of the defence.
Tunisian right-back Hamdi Nagguez also fired high over when put clean through by a superb pass from Bencharki on the stroke of halftime.
In a tense second half, both sides had legitimate penalty claims waved away by the referee.
Bencharki was also guilty of two glaring misses, including one in stoppage time which saw him break clear before his attempted chip was saved by the keeper.
But Zamalek still did enough to go through and continue their bid towards a second straight Egypt Cup title to go along with their Confederation Cup triumph this year.
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