A second-half header from defender Mahmoud “El-Wensh” Hamdi was enough to give Zamalek a precious 1-0 win against Future FC in a tough test at a crucial stage of the league.
The Whites opened a nine-point gap at the top ahead of second-placed Ahly, who have played two games less with seven games yet to play.
Jesualdo Ferreira’s men have extended their winning streak to six games, getting a step closer to their bid for a second consecutive league title.
Future FC played a high-tempo game in the opening stages, creating an early danger.
Striker Ahmed Atef was found unmarked in the area but failed to control the ball, wasting a golden opportunity, and then Karim Walid sent a powerful header inch next to the post from inside the six yards inside the 20 minutes.
Zamalek regained their composure midway through the first half and forced keeper Mahmoud Gennesh Abdel-Rehim to make some fine saves against chances from Emam Ashour and Mohamed Abdel-Ghani.
The Whites upped their game after the break as Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek and Youssef “Obama” Ibrahim were introduced into the game.
Atef squandered his team’s best chance when he raced past Zamalek’s defence to go clear on target, but his shot went inches off the post.
Future FC were quickly punished for their sloppiness as El-Wensh rose above his marker to meet a precise shot from Ahmed “Zizo” El-Sayed with a powerful header home from close range past keeper Gennesh in the 74th minute.
They pressed forward as Zamalek sat back on defence to protect their lead, but they failed to get anything out of this game.