Egypt s Masry moved to the brink of a place in the African Confederation Cup knockout stage after a delightful strike from Islam Eissa gave them a deserved 1-0 victory over Morocco s Renaissance de Berkane in Port Said on Sunday.
The diminutive winger, the game s standout performer, netted what proved to be the winner nine minutes after the restart following a superb piece of individual skill to put Masry in pole position to advance.
Masry leapfrogged Berkane to the summit of Group B with eight points, one ahead of the Moroccans. Sudan s Al-Hilal are a distant third on 3 points while Mozambique s UD Songo lie at the bottom on two points with only two matches remaining.
Hossam Hassan s men need only a draw against Al-Hilal in their next game to secure passage to the knockout phase as the team chase their first ever continental title.
Apart from an early effort from Berkane that saw a header from Najji Larbi go just wide, Masry were in control in the first half, with Eissa s energetic display causing constant menace to the visitors.
Masry s lone striker Ahmed Gomaa wasted the best chance for his side after eight minutes when he was picked out unmarked by a right-wing cross, only to send a tame downward header that was easily saved by the keeper.
The hosts continued to probe Berkane defence for a way through in the second half and they were rewarded in the 54th minute following a brilliant individual effort.
Eissa held off his challenger with a superb feint on the edge of the area and found the top corner of the net with a delightful curler with his right foot to send the home fans into raptures.
Abdel-Latif Grendo almost made it 2-0 five minutes later but his header was tipped over by keeper Abdelali Mhamdi as Masry pushed forward to put the result to bed.
Berkane were dangerous on the break though and they could have leveled the score on 61 minutes when Hamdi Laachir broke clear, only to send a poor shot across the area.
But Masry held on for a valuable win that also assured their supporters ahead of the start of the new domestic season.