Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel held their local rivals CS Sfaxien to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Confederation Cup final in Sfax on Saturday.
The visitors had the best chance to break the deadlock during the first half when Nigeria-born striker Emeka Opara broke clear only to be denied by goalkeeper Jassem Khaloufi.
Sfaxien managed to create several clear-cut scoring chances during the second half, but an Etoile team playing only their second match under caretaker French coach Herve Gauthier survived.
Etoile are now in a strong position to win their third African title in a row as they host the second leg on 22 November in the Mediterranean resort of Sousse.
The winners will collect US$330,000 and secure a berth in next February's African Super Cup, where they will meet the Champions League holders.
Etoile, the only side to win every African club competition, lifted the Confederation Cup in 2006 and other former winners include Hearts of Oak of Ghana and Moroccan military oufit FAR Rabat.
CS Sfaxien are the holders of the Confederation Cup from 2007.
The two teams met in the African Super Cup earlier this year when Etoile beat Sfaxien 2-1.