The equaliser brought a capacity 35,000 Stade Tata Raphael crowd in Kinshasa to its feet after they had been stunned into silence when Setif regained the lead at a ground where Muhammad Ali fought 40 years ago. Ali defeated George Foreman in an iconic 1974 world heavyweight title fight known as the "Rumble in the Jungle".
AS Vita Club coach Florent Ibenge had given his team a pre-match warning about the counter-attacking menace of the north Africans. And his worst fears were realised on 57 minutes when Akram Djahnit combined with Abdelmalik Ziaya before rounding goalkeeper Nelson Lukong and tapping the ball into the net.
Setif came agonisingly close to doubling the lead four minutes from half-time when a sizzling Ziaya shot was pushed on to the crossbar by Lukong. AS Vita Club levelled three minutes into first-half stoppage time as Mohamed Lagraa handled and Mabidi just beat Khedairia as the goalkeeper dived to his right.
A strong start to the second half by the home side saw Khedairia tip a Mubele shot on to the crossbar. The clubs, who have each won the competition once before, meet again on 1 November in Blida with a place at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco also at stake.