Esperance and record 11-time winners Al Ahly played out a goalless draw in the first leg of the African Champions League final in Tunisia.

The clubs had kept a combined 22 clean sheets en route to the final, and defences were on top at a packed Hammadi Agrebi Stadium.

The only effort on target came in the dying stages, when Esperance goalkeeper Amanallah Memmiche pulled off a low save to deny Hussein El Shahat.

Esperance’s best chance came early on when Brazilian striker Rodrigo Rodrigues flashed a header wide in the fifth minute.

The hosts continued to have the better chances of the first half in Rades, with Roger Aholou and captain Ghaylene Chaalali both sending efforts wide while El Shahat fired off target for the visitors.

Al Ahly boss Marcel Koller decided to keep faith with Mostafa Shobeir in goal despite experienced club captain Mohamed El Shenawy being available again after injury.

Shobeir had kept eight clean sheets while El Shenawy was absent after suffering a shoulder injury at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt earlier this year.

The return leg will be in Cairo next Saturday, where Al Ahly have won five and drawn six of 11 previous Champions League matches against Esperance.

Esperance are seeking their fifth continental title and previously beat the Egyptians in the 2018 final.