Zamalek scored twice in seven second-half minutes to come from behind and earn a 2-1 win at Ismaily in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday, boosting their morale ahead of an anticipated African Super Cup clash on Friday.
Ismaily went to the locker room 1-0 up, thanks to a penalty from Egyptian international defender Baher El-Mohammadi, but a header from forward Youssef Ibrahim and a spot-kick from Mahmoud Alaa in quick succession after the break turned the match on its head.
Matters went from bad to worse for Ismaily when substitute Mohamed Bayoumi was sent off for a second bookable offence 12 minutes from time, although they still spurned two clear-cut chances in the dying stages.
Zamalek are third in the table with 31 points, just one behind Arab Contractors, who played a game more, and eight adrift of leaders Ahly, who have two matches in hand.
The White Knights second straight league win came in a timely manner as they face some crunch games this month, including Friday s African Super Cup clash against Tunisia s Esperance in Doha.
They also meet arch-rivals Ahly in the Egyptian Super Cup on 20 February and in the Egyptian league four days later.
Stuttering Ismaily dropped to ninth in the table with 21 points.
In an end-to-end first half, Ismaily had the lion s share of chances as they proved dangerous on the break.
Zamalek had the first chance when Youssef Ibrahim s low shot from a pull-back was finger-tipped by the keeper but Ismaily quickly took control.
They were unlucky not to go ahead on two occasions, including a sliding effort from ex-Zamalek winger Mohamed El-Shami which went just wide after he broke clear following a superb threaded pass from Ahmed Madbouli.
Madbouli won a penalty in the 33rd minute when he was held back by Zamalek youngster Ahmed Eid, with El-Mohammadi s effort nestling into the bottom corner even though keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal dived the right way.
Zamalek improved after the break, with some darting runs behind Ismaily s backline causing menace to the hosts.
They equalised on 61 minutes when Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi, who was an otherwise peripheral figure, released Mohamed Ounajem with a fine lofted pass down the right as the Moroccan whipped in an inviting cross for Ibrahim to head home from close range.
Zamalek went ahead six minutes later as Alaa sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot after lone striker Mostafa Mohamed was brought down by the shot-stopper.
Ismaily were hardly affected by the dismissal of Bayoumi though and they were guilty of missing two easy chances through Tunisian forward Fakhereedine Ben Youssef and Namibian striker Benson Shilongo.