File photo of an Egyptian Premier League game between Zamalek and Enppi (Ahram)
Zamalek needed an opportunist strike from defender Mahmoud Hamdi to secure a scrappy 1-0 victory over Enppi and keep pace with Pyramids FC in the battle to finish second in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.
Hamdi made the most of a loose ball following a corner to fire in the winner on 73 minutes in a drab game that saw Enppi restrict Zamalek to same tame efforts.
The victory was much needed for Zamalek following a surprise 2-1 defeat by Arab Contractors in their previous game, which came on the heels of the team's impressive 3-1 win over perennial Cairo rivals Ahly.
Zamalek are now level with Pyramids on 45 points, although the former would be deducted three points at the end of the season for failing to show up for a Cairo derby meeting with Ahly in February.
The big-spending Pyramids meet Zamalek in a vital clash on Thursday as both sides vie for the last African Champions League spot, with runaway leaders Ahly having all but secured the first ticket to the continent's blue-riband competition.
Enppi dropped to seventh in the table with 30 points from 23 games.
Despite their territorial dominance, Zamalek failed to carve out openings in a bore first half, with Enppi's defence easily dealing with their feeble attempts.
Zamalek could only create their first real chance after almost an hour following a rare well-worked three-man move, which ended with Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki pulling the ball back to Youssef Ibrahim.
The deep-lying forward chipped poorly wide despite being well-positioned to score, wasting Zamalek's best chance.
The White Knights then looked dangerous in set pieces, one of which resulted in the game's solitary goal.
Mahmoud Alaa's header from a corner struck Himid Mao's chest, with Hamdi sneaking ahead of another Enppi defender to fire into the roof of the net from inside the area.
Substitute Eslam Gaber could have added a second for Zamalek deep in stoppage time but drilled just wide following a diagonal cross to the far post.
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