They will enjoy home advantage first in the decider against TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo or Al Merrikh of Sudan with both matches to be staged between 30 October 30 and 8 November. Merrikh defend a 2-1 lead away to four-time African champions Mazembe in southern Congolese mining hub Lubumbashi.
USM thought they had snatched a stoppage-time winner, but the South African referee ruled Mohamed Meftah offside. Meftah and Malagasy Carolus Andriamatsinoro, the only non-Algerian in the USM side, were yellow-carded and miss the first leg of the final.
The best previous showing by USM in the premier African club competition was reaching the 2003 semi-finals. USM are the fifth Algerian club after Mouloudia Alger, JS Kabylie (formerly JET), Entente Setif and Mouloudia Oran to reach the final, with only the latter side failing to lift the trophy.
The inability of twice runners-up Hilal to turn the tie around was not surprising as none of the previous five sides who lost at home in the first leg of a semi-final overcame the deficit. It was the first time USM failed to win at home in seven Champions League matches this season and the fifth away draw for Hilal.