AC Leopards scored three minutes from time to hold Mali's Djoliba 2-2 on Sunday and earn an advantage after the first leg of the Confederation Cup.
The Congolese club are at home for the return match on 25 November and know that a 0-0 or 1-1 draw would give them the trophy on away goals.
Rochel Kivouri put Leopards ahead but Alou Bagayoko equalised with a penalty.
After the break Salif Coulibaly put Djoliba in front but they were denied by Heritier Ngouelou's late strike.
Leopards trounced Djoliba 3-0 at home in the mini-league phase of the second-tier club competition last month after drawing 1-1 in Bamako, and the latest meeting suggests the Congolese have the measure of the Malians.
And the fighting spirit which has transformed Leopards from rank outsiders into title favourites came to the fore again in Bamako on Sunday, giving them a great chance of taking the title.