Zamalek fell seven points behind leaders and arch rivals Ahly after wasting a plethora of goal-scoring chances in a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Smouha in the Egyptian Premier League on Friday.
The White Knights wasted almost a dozen of goal-scoring chances to stumble for the second successive game, having suffered a 3-2 loss to Talae El-Geish in their previous match.
Despite the stalemate, Zamalek produced a much livelier display than the one they had put in against El-Geish, creating chances at will and keeping Smouha defenders on their toes for the entire 90 minutes.
But a much-needed goal did not materialize and Zamalek could now face an uphill task to challenge for their first league title since 2015, with Cairo foes Ahly looking in irresistible form after winning their opening seven matches.
Zamalek lie fourth on 14 points, seven behind Ahly who can widen the gap to 10 if they win their match in hand.
Zamalek created their first chance as early as the sixth minute, deep-lying forward Youssef Ibrahim blasting a left-footer wide after breaking clear.
Striker Mostafa Mohamed also had a bicycle effort blocked by the keeper before a header from Ibrahim narrowly missed the target as Zamalek intensified their attacks.
Smouha could have hit them on the break on one occasion, with an overhead kick from ex-Zamalek defender Mohamed Koffi going just wide.
Zamalek kept up their relentless pressure after the interval, squandering further clear-cut opportunities.
Mostafa Mohamed hit the side netting after he was fed by a superb defence-splitting pass from Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi, who was at the heart of most of Zamalek's attempts.
Substitute Karim Bambo also missed the target with the goal at his mercy on two occasions, with Smouha breathing a sigh of relief after escaping with a precious draw.
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