Ahly beat Smouha 2-0 on Wednesday (snapshot)
Striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher scored a goal and created another as Ahly overtook ENPPI at the top of the Egyptian Premier League Group A with a 2-0 victory over Smouha on Tuesday.
Abdel-Zaher, who joined Ahly from ENPPI last January, opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a simple tap-in before crossing for striker partner Emad Meteb to ensure the victory eight minutes past the hour mark.
Ahly avenged their 1-0 loss to Smouha in February to secure a fifth successive victory and move top with 24 points, two ahead of second-placed ENPPI who played a game more.
The Red Devils are close to securing passage to the final round, where a mini-league with only home fixtures will be held between four teams to determine the champion.
Smouha lie third with 16 points, six behind ENPPI in the last final-round qualifying spot.
There were some shy attempts from both sides until Abdel-Zaher put Ahly in front after 26 minutes.
Defender Mohamed Naguib played the ball across the six-yard box for Meteb, whose close-range effort was blocked by two defenders. The ball then fell into the path of Abdel-Zaher for an easy tap-in.
Smouha, who lost veteran defender Hani Said to injury after six minutes, relied on some through passes from Egyptian international playmaker Ahmed Hammoudi but sluggish striker Mohamed Fadl, an ex-Ahly frontman, failed to make them count.
Ahly keeper Sherif Ekramy was on alert to palm away a header from his side's own defender Wael Gomaa, who was trying to clear the danger, after 33 minutes while Abdel-Zaher sent a glancing header just over the bar at the other end four minutes later.
Smouha's Ghanaian striker Ernest Papa Arko broke clear early in the second half after another defence-splitting pass from Hammoudi but Ekramy rushed out to block his shot.
Although Smouha looked the more likely to score after the interval, it was Ahly who doubled their their lead on 68 minutes.
Abdel-Zaher ran onto a pass on the left and whipped in a cross at the far post for Meteb to side-foot home.
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