Tunisia defeated Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 2-1 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification Group A match at the Stade Olympique de Rades on Friday.
As a result, the Carthage Eagles climbed to the top of Group A table, while the Leopards dropped down to the second spot ahead of the return leg match which will be played in Kinshasa on Tuesday.
It took 18 minutes for the Carthage Eagles to take lead from the spot-kick after they were awarded a penalty when Fakhreddine Ben Youssef was fouled in the box.
Tunisia defender Yassine Meriah made no mistake from the spot-kick as he fired past DRC goalkeeper Ley Matampi to make it 1-0 to the home side.
However, the visitors managed to level matters through Cedric Bakambu, who beat Tunisia keeper Aymen Mathlouthi in the 43rd minute to make it 1-1.
The score was 1-1 during the half-time break after the DRC fought back and punished the Tunisian defence, who were caught ball watching.
DRC were unable to contain Tunisia in the opening stages of the second-half as the Carthage Eagles pressed the Leopards in search of the second goal.
The pressure paid off as Esperance de Tunis midfielder Chailene Chaalali hit the back of the net from close range in the 47th minute to make it 2-1 to Tunisia.
The Leopards then pushed for the equalizing goal, but they found it difficult to unlock the Carthage Eagles which was led by goalscorer Meriah.
The home side stood firm in the dying minutes of the match and Tunisia recorded a hard-fought 2-1 victory over DRC on the night.
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').