Zamalek's Ayman Hefni (R) celebrates his goal with teammate Mahmoud Shikabala (Photo: the club's official Twitter account)
Champions Zamalek concluded their triumphant Egyptian Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against NBE club while runners-up Ahly snatched a stoppage-time 2-1 victory over relegated Aswan on Friday.
A celebratory mood engulfed Zamalek's game against NBE, the White Knights having wrapped up their first league title in six years after beating El-Entag El-Harbi 2-0 on the penultimate round last Tuesday.
Both sides were denied by the woodwork in an evenly-balanced first half before Zamalek's veteran schemer Ayman Hefni, who was introduced in the second half, broke the deadlock on 72 minutes with a free header.
Hefni, a fan favourite, was held up by his teammates to celebrate his first Zamalek goal in years.
The 35-year-old was one of the architects of Zamalek's previous Egyptian league triumph in 2015. He also won with the club four Egypt Cups and a CAF Confederation crown in 2019 before joining Maqassa after his form faded.
After a disappointing loan spell at Arab Contractors, he appealed to Zamalek officials to re-sign him, saying he hoped to hang up his boots at the club.
While he was hardly expected to get any playing time following his January arrival, French coach Patrice Carteron introduced him in the second half of a 3-0 league victory over Ghazl El-Mahalla earlier this month before he was given another chance against NBE.
Winger Karim Bambo, who is on loan from Zamalek, brought NBE level six minutes from time with a close-range header after making the most of a flick from striker Ahmed Ali.
Zamalek keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal was called into action in stoppage time, blocking a twice-taken penalty from Ali to prevent his side from suffering their first league loss since April.
The Cairo giants, who clinched their 13th title, were presented with the league trophy following the game as jubilant scenes took center stage.
Ahly, who were denied a sixth consecutive crown, were stunned when Aswan took the lead on 51 minutes as Ashraf Magdi pounced on a defensive mix-up to fire home.
However, the league's top scorer Mohamed Sherif converted a penalty nine minutes past the hour mark for his 21st goal, recording the biggest single-season tally since the late Hassan El-Shazli scored 34 goals for Tersana in the 1974-75 season.
Salah Mohsen scored six minutes into stoppage time as Ahly snatched a win to finish with 76 points, four behind Zamalek.
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