Ahly closed the gap further on the leading duo with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Enppi after surviving a late scare in a re-arranged Egyptian Premier League game on Tuesday.
The Red Devils looked to be cruising to an easy win, thanks to goals from defender Ayman Ashraf and in-form Nigerian striker Junior Ajayi either side of the interval, but a late header from Enppi’s Mahmoud Kaoud forced an exciting finale.
Enppi, who finished with ten men after having substitute Ahmed Refaat dismissed for two bookings in quick succession, celebrated wildly after scoring again in stoppage time but Rami Sabri’s volley from a free-kick was chalked off for a marginal offside.
Ahly’s run of four consecutive victories saw them close the gap on second-placed Pyramids, who played four matches more, to six points. They are also nine points behind Zamalek with a game in hand over their bitter rivals.
Enppi, who extended their winless run to three matches, lie 13th in the 18-team table on 21 points, on level with the last team in the relegation zone.
The hosts had the first effort when a shot from ex-Ahly winger Ahmed Shoukry was clawed away by the keeper but the Red Devils quickly assumed their control, although clear-cut chances were scarce.
After laying siege to Enppi’s area for long periods, Ashraf broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when a corner caused mayhem in the area and he pounced to swivel and drill the ball home from six yards out.
Midfielder Karim Walid, who scored twice in Ahly’s 5-0 African Champions League rout of Tanzania’s Simba on Saturday, spurned a golden chance to make it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime when he headed over the bar after being found unmarked by a floated cross from Hussein El-Shahat.