Zamalek are now in second place and gave new coach Jesualdo Ferreira his first win at the helm with an exciting 3-2 victory over Pyramids FC in the Egyptian Premier League clash on Wednesday.
Achraf Bencharki, who is under fire for a series of uninspiring displays and for failing to agree a new deal with Zamalek, gave his side an early lead and rediscovered some of his form with a fine all-round display.
Central defender Ali Gabr drew Pyramids level shortly after and South African striker Fagrie Lakay put them in front before Zamalek striker Omar El-Said, who set up Bencharki for the early opener, levelled the score at 2-2 on the stroke of halftime following a brilliant assist from Emam Ashour.
Ashour turned scorer early in the second half after being teed up by Bencharki and Zamalek survived late pressure from Pyramids to grab a precious victory over one of their main challengers for the title.
The Cairo giants also gave Ferreira a much-needed win after the canny Portuguese coach, who led the club to a rare domestic double in 2015 during his previous stint at the helm, oversaw a loss and two draws in a disappointing African Champions League campaign.
Zamalek lie second in the Premier League table with 28 points, two ahead of third-placed Pyramids.
Leaders Ahly, who beat Ittihad of Alexandria 1-0, have 31 points with a game in hand on Zamalek and Pyramids.