One goal could suffice for title-holders Ahly, who fell 1-0 away to Orlando Pirates of South Africa last weekend in the first leg of a semi-final. A solitary-goal victory for the Red Devils at the New Suez Stadium east of Cairo would take the rematch of the 2013 CAF Champions League final to a penalty shoot-out.
While Ahly appear capable of overcoming the narrow deficit, the chances of Zamalek joining them in the two-leg climax of the second-tier competition are remote. Fierce, century-old rivals Ahly and Zamalek have met before in CAF competitions, but never in a final, and there was great belief in Egypt that they would do so this year.
Having surrendered the Egyptian title to Zamalek after a decade-long dominance, Fathy Mabrouk realises his survival as Ahly coach almost certainly hinges on retaining the Confederation Cup.
"We have to win the Confederation Cup as a consolation for our great fans," he admitted to the Egyptian media.
"Ahly are not used to completing a season without any trophies so we will do our best to overturn the score against Pirates. The South Africans are a strong, quick side, but we wasted good scoring opportunities in Soweto. Hopefully, we will not repeat that mistake this Sunday."
A calf injury could keep experienced midfielder Hossam Ghaly, a first-leg absentee, out of the return match also, but winger Walid Soliman is available having missed the trip to Soweto.
Pirates welcome back defenders Siyabonga Sangweni and Happy Jele from suspension and coach Eric Tinkler says his side "will not park the bus" and try to protect the slender advantage.
"Ahly have to score and we must capitalise on the space that will open up when they push forward," said the 1996 South Africa Cup of Nations-winning midfielder.
Having guided Zamalek to a domestic league and cup double, former Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira faces a challenge only one Confederation Cup club has successfully completed.
Mount Cameroon wiped out a 5-1 away defeat by Ajax Cape Town with a 5-0 home triumph seven years ago in a qualifying tie.
"Etoile punished our mistakes and now we face a tough but not impossible situation," the stern 69-year-old handler told reporters in Cairo. "We must forget the first leg, take things one step at a time, and believe in our ability to overcome this large deficit."
Leading Etoile scorer Baghdad Bounedjah says his team-mates "have their feet firmly on the ground" while two-goal first-leg star Marouane Tej remains wary of "the seriously wounded Zamalek".