The only goal of the match, held at Taieb Mhiri Stadium in the Mediterranean city of Sfax, came nine minutes before half-time when midfielder Kamel Zaiem broke the resistance of the Omdurman club. Sfaxien, who won the second-tier African club competition in 2007 and 2008, were slow to find their rhythm against opponents seeking a first continental title.
But the failure of a Hilal side coached by Serb Milutin Sredojevic to score an away goal could haunt them after the return match scheduled for Sudan in mid-November. Whichever team survives is likely to confront FUS Rabat in the two-leg final after the Moroccan minnows returned from Tripoli on Friday with a 2-1 lead over Al-Ittihad of Libya. Goals from striker Hicham Fatihi and defender Mohamed Benchrifa brought victory to a side forced to play more than half the game a man short after Niger striker Alhassane Issoufou was red carded for a dangerous tackle.