Tunisia overcame the Democratic Republic of Congo 2-1 in a 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualification, Group A match at the Stade Olympique de Rades on Friday.
The victory takes the Carthage Eagles to the top of the Group A standings, while the Leopards slip down to position two ahead of the return leg match which will be played in Kinshasa next week Tuesday.
The match got off to a lively start as both teams launched attacks in the opening stages, but it was the home side who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute.
Tunisia striker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef was fouled inside the DRC box and the Carthage Eagles were awarded a penalty by South African referee Daniel Bennett.
Yassine Meriah then stepped up and hit the back of the net after beating DRC goalkeeper Ley Matampi from the spot-kick to make it 1-0 to Tunisia.
However, the Leopards managed to restore parity just before the half-time break through their lively centre forward Cedric Bakambu.
The Spain-based frontman headed home to make it 1-1 for DRC after taking advantage of the Carthage Eagles’ defensive mix-up following a cross from the right.
Tunisia and DRC were locked at 1-1 at the interval after the Leopards fought back to hold the Carthage Eagles, who lost concentration towards the end of the first half.
However, the hosts managed restore their lead just two minutes into the second half after the Leopards’ defence was exposed.
Ghilane Chaalani, who is plying his trade in the Tunisian Ligue 1 for Esperance de Tunis, hit the back of the net from close range to make it 2-1 to Tunisia.
DRC coach Florent Ibenge responded by introducing Benik Afobe for Ndombe Mubele just after the hour-mark as the Leopards searched for the equalising goal.
However, they struggled to penetrate the Carthage Eagles’ defence which was marshalled by Ali Maaloul, who was solid for the hosts.
Tunisia contained DRC in the closing stages of the encounter and the Carthage Eagles emerged 2-1 winners at home.
Tunisia (1) 2 (Meriah 18′, Chaalali 47′)
DR Congo (1) 1 (Bakambu 43′)
Tunisia: Mathlouthi, Ben Youssef, Maaloul, Bedoul, Sliti (Sliti 85′), Meriah, Ben Amor, Chalali, Msakni, Khenissi (Touzghar 90′), Ben Youssef (Badri 68′).
DR Congo: Matampi, Zakuani, Ikoko (Ngonda 69′), Mbemba, Issama, Bompunga, Bokadi, Kakuta, Bakambu, Kabananga, Mubele (Afobe 61′).