‘Locomotiva’ were trailing by a Oussama Darfalou second half opener, before Kanda struck a minute from time to restore hope for the Mozambican champions ahead of the return leg in Algiers next weekend.
Missing defensive pair, Mambucho and Amorim, who were both suspended, Ferroviario struggled in the opening minutes of the closely fought encounter.
USMA goalkeeper Mohamed Zemmamouche was only tested by the homers in the last ten minutes of the first half but he proved equal to the task.
With no goal in the first half, both teams resumed on a high in their quest to break the deadlock.
Darfalou broke the deadlock on 62 minutes firing past veteran goalkeeper Willard Manyatera from close range.
The Mozambicans fought for the equalizer but had to wait till the 89th minute before Kanda headed home a Thomas Nyirenda pass leaving Zemmamouche with no option.
The second leg will take place on Saturday, 23 September 2017 in Algiers with the winner after two legs facing either holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa or Moroccan side, Wydad Athletic Club at the semis.
Rogério Gonçalves (Head Coach, Ferroviario da Beira)
We played well in this game. However, I have to remind everyone that we were playing against a very strong team, with experience in this kind of competitions. It is all open and in the second leg, we will fight in our quest to progress.
We had many chances to score goals. They (USM Alger) had that unique clear opportunity and scored due to a distraction from my defenders. In all we were the better side.
Paul Put (Head Coach, USM Alger)
We played against a well-organized team with some key players, who can make a difference in decisive moments of the game. We have taken note of their play and the second leg will be different.
We had to play with a low intensity because of the condition of the pitch. My players were also tired because of the long travel hours and these factors ensured my players could not give off their best. We cannot expect a different result other than victory in the return leg.
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