Zamelek player dribbles the ball during its 2-1 victory over Damnhour (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Zamalek survived a late scare by third-from-bottom Damanhour to pull off a 2-1 victory away from home in the Egyptian league on Monday.
A vintage performance from Zamalek midfielder Ahmed Eid saw him assist his side's two goals either side of the interval, with Moemen Zakareya bagging the opener in the 22ndminute before Khaled Kamar made it two on 63 minutes.
Zamalek, however, did not produce the best of displays against the league strugglers, who managed to pull one back through Mohamed Nasr in the 76th minute, and mounted a late onslaught which saw them spurn a host of gilt-edged chances.
The Cairo giants, who slumped to a controversial 2-0 defeat to ENPPI last week, moved top of the table with 34 points – one ahead of the petroleum side who meet 14th-placed Masry later on the day.
Zamalek boss Jaime Pacheco made several chances to his starting lineup, with Ahmed Dwidar coming in for the out-of-sorts Ali Gabr, and Saleh Moussa replaced the injured Omar Gaber down the right.
But the star of the day was 34-year-old Eid, whose superb run down the flank, where he evaded two challengers, saw his cross eventually converted by an unmarked Zakareya in stunning fashion – curling home into the far corner from inside the box.
Sixteen minutes later, Maarouf Youssef – who partnered Ibrahim Salah in midfield – saw a long-range strike blocked by the Damanhour keeper, as Zamalek struggled to a further pose real threat on goal.
Late Damanhour scare
Zamalek looked much better after the interval, and combative striker Bassem Morsy – who had two goals controversially disallowed against ENPPI last week – headed wide just six minutes into the second half.
Egypt international Kamar, who was deployed as a second striker, was guilty of failing to convert an easy header from a cross by Eid – with the former's effort bouncing off the bar.
But a minute later, Kamar made amends for his wasted chance, and the same combination resulted in Zamalek's second goal of the day.
Eid pressed the opposition's defence to intercept the ball in a dangerous area and feed Kamar, who went through on goal before rounding the keeper and finding the net from a tight angle.
With the game seemingly over, Damanhour surprisingly looked to gain the upper hand, and striker Nasr could have brought them level but was unfortunate to see his effort denied by the bar on 66 minutes.
But Nasr managed to pull one back in the last 15 minutes, when some sloppy defending and a poor piece of goalkeeping allowed him to head past Mohamed Abo-Gabal.
It wasn't the end of Damanhour chances though, with Mohamed Samir this time spurning a close header from point-blank range in what seemed to be a certain equaliser just one minute later.
Former Zamalek striker Abou Kone, who came on as a second half sub, could have punished his old team when he squandered another sitter from point-blank range, capitalising on uncharacteristicallly scrappy defending from the visitors.
The White Knights, however, were able to keep their slender lead intact to top the table on temporary basis ahead of ENPPI's other Week 15 league fixture.
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