Etoile du Sahel held their Tunisian rivals, Esperance de Tunis to a 0-0 draw in a CAF Champions League Group C match at the Stade Hammadi Agrebi in Tunis on Saturday afternoon.
The draw saw Esperance's Blood and Gold remain at the top of the group standings, while the Pearl of the Coast climbed up to the second spot with three matches left for both teams.
The Pearl of the Coast had to ensure that they neutralise Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, who has been in good form for the Blood and Gold having scored the most goals (three) in this season's group stage.
Ben Romdhane came close to breaking the deadlock after the Etoile defence was caught ball watching. The Esperance midfielder's attempt hit the woodwork with goalkeeper Ali Jemal well-beaten.
Etoile did create a few goalscoring opportunities with their best chance falling for Souleymane Coulibaly, who failed to keep his attempt on target and the score was 0-0 during the halftime break.
The hosts controlled the game after the restart, but they were let down by poor finishing and indecisiveness in front of goal with Esperance head coach Radhi Jaidi having introduced Farouk Mimouni.
Jaidi's counterpart, Roger Lemerre, made a double substitution as he introduced an attack-minded duo of Vinny Kombe and Yassine Amri just after the hour-mark.
Both teams pushed for a late winning goal, but Etoile were reduced to 10 players in the 88th minute when Abdel Razak Bouazra was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the match.
However, Etoile managed to contain Esperance in the dying minutes of the game despite being numerically disadvantaged and the Tunisian Derby encounter ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Esperance: Ben Cherifia, Amamou, Arfaoui (Ben Khalifa 79′), M. Ben Hamida, Ben Romdhane, Bougrine, Chaaleli, Eduwo, Iwuala (Mimouni 46′), Machmoum, Tougai.
Etoile: Jemal, Benayada, Bouazra, Boutmene (Amri 63′), Coulibaly (Kombe 64′), Ghedamsi, Mbe, Msakni (Dhaoui 86′), Naouali, Yeken (Kayramani 72′), Zaddem