Zamalek winger Shikabala (Photo: Ahram)
A below-par Zamalek side held on to come up with all three points after edging out Masry 1-0 at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium , thanks to a first-half Shikabala goal following a howler from the Port-Said side keeper.
A ninth-minute goal from the Zamalek skipper eventually proved the winner in a match that saw Hossam Hassan's men dominate almost throughout.
The victory is manager Augusto Inacio's second win after outclassing Talae El-Geish 3-0, a triumph that followed a 2-0 debut defeat against Enppi.
Zamalek, who virtually lost hope of a top-two finish, climb to third place of the league standings with 46 points - three ahead of rivals Masry.
Masry keeper howler
Masry had the upper hand from the off, and were able to force Zamalek back into their defensive third for the majority of the game.
With the Whites unable to regain possession and get the ball into the final third, it seemed they needed a defensive blunder from their opponents to take the lead.
And it was not long till Shikabala capitalized on a gaffe from young keeper Ahmed Abdel-Fattah, who failed to hold onto the ball under the Zamalek winger's pressure to concede the first goal.
Zamalek looked to have been briefly energized by the opener, but it was again the hosts who asserted their dominance, with center-back duo Ali Gabr and Mahmoud Hamdi doing well to keep their side's slender lead intact.
Just five minutes after the break, Masry's Abdallah Gomaa hit the side-netting with a powerful strike from outside the area signaling their intent to get back into the game.
Two minutes earlier Zamalek boss Augusto Inacio had brought on midfielder Salah 'Riko' who replaced the out-of-sorts Ayman Hefni, in an attempt to give his men more control in midfield.
Zamalek improved after Riko's introduction having switched to 4-3-3, but with Masry the more organized side the home side were able to continue dictating play till the end of the match.
The visitors, however, had two chances to double their lead in the final minutes, with Bassem Morsi - who had been isolated throughout - seeing a looping header cleared off the line before substitute Mostafa Fathi missed a sitter from inside the area.
A counter-attack had seen another substitute in Stanley Ohawuchi surge into space down the left before squaring the ball towards Fathi who blasted high – with manager Inacio lamenting the wasted opportunity.
Zamalek held on in the final minutes, thanks to a superb performance from center-back duo Gabr and Hamdi, as they came up with all three points.
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