Zamalek's goalkeeper Mahmoud Gennesh (C) saves Ahly's Moamen Zakaria's penalty (L) during the Egyptian Super Cup football match between on February 10, 2017, at Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi (AFP)
Goalkeeper Mahmoud Gennesh once again proved Zamalek's hero in a shootout as Zamalek defeated Ahly 3-1 on penalties in Abu Dhabi on Friday to overcome their arch rivals for the first time in five Egyptian Super Cup meetings.
Gennesh, who usually plays second fiddle to Egyptian international keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi, saved two penalties and Ahly's veteran skipper Hossam Ghaly skied his effort high over as Zamalek easily prevailed in the shootout after a dour 0-0 draw.
Zamalek added a third Super Cup trophy to their cabinet but will be more delighted that the win had come at the expense of nemesis Ahly, the record winners with nine titles under their belt, including four after victories over the White Knights in 2003, 2008, 2014 and 2015.
Gennesh's excellence in shootouts came to prominence when he lifted them to the Egypt Cup final in 2015 with superb stops in the quarter and semi-finals. He also often dives the right way even when he fails to block spot-kicks.
The match was played in the United Arab Emirates for the second time, with the first taking place in Al-Ain in October 2015. However, it was a more exciting affair back then, with Ahly securing a 3-2 comeback win.
A bore 0-0 draw on Friday at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium hardly yielded any threats, although Ahly could have snatched a win in the dying minutes had it not been for a horrible miss from Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi with the goal at his mercy.
Zamalek avenged a 2-0 defeat by Ahly in their last league game late in December, which extended the Red Devils' lead at the top to 11 points although Zamalek still have two games in hand.
Neither side mounted any threats in a first half to forget, with both opting not to take any attacking risks in a cagey affair.
Defenders had the upper hand as Ahly and Zamalek could only create some half-chances, to the boredom of the red and white-clad supporters who looked very passionate before kick-off.
Moemen Soliman's shot from outside the area was easily punched away by Gennesh before Ahly had a penalty appeal turned down when playmaker Abdallah El-Said was tripped by defender Mahmoud Hamdi.
At the other end, lone striker Bassem Morsi, who was jeered by Ahly's supporters every time he touched the ball, connected with a cross from right-back Mohamed Ibrahim shortly before the break but his weak side kick was collected by keeper Sherif Ekramy.
Ahly had a territorial dominance in the second half but chances remained at a premium, with the central defenders at both ends easily dealing with numerous harmless crosses.
Egypt's exertions at the African Cup of Nations took their toll on Ahly's defensive midfielder Ahmed Fathi and playmaker El-Said, who were both substituted.
The dull match was almost settled in Ahly's favour one minute from time when substitute Karim Walid's low cross from the right exposed a rare lapse in concentration from Zamalek's defenders to find the unmarked Ajayi, who somehow failed to connect with the teasing pass.
Gennesh dived to his right to save penalties from Moemen Zakareya and Saleh Gomaa, with Zamalek's Bassem Morsi, Osama Ibrahim and Ahmed Refaat converting theirs.
Hossam Ghaly's effort then went high over as jubilant Zamalek players erupted in celebration.