USM Alger of Algeria and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco drew 0-0 Friday in a drab CAF Champions League semi-final first leg in Algiers.
A typically cagey north African showdown produced barely any scoring chances for a large crowd at the 80,000-seat Stade du 5 Juillet.
The match did nothing to enhance the reputation of the elite African club competition with an 80th-minute incident demonstrating the poverty of the football.
USMA passed their way into a threatening position just outside the box only for Amir Sayoud to misconnect with the ball, which flew wide.
The Algerian outfit monopolised possession throughout, but were clueless when it came to creating final-third space.
Apart from a lack of imagination from both sides, the match lacked rhythm due to constant stoppages for injuries, some of which were dubious.
When Wydad substitute Abdeladim Khadrouf was pushed in the back with only a few minutes remaining, he fell to the ground clutching his face and triggering a long delay.
Carried off on a stretcher, the Moroccan immediately got up and ran back on the field.
USMA forced two free-kicks and a corner in stoppage time without threatening to end the dreary deadlock.
Former champions Wydad host the return match against 2015 runners-up USMA during the weekend of October 20-22.
Etoile Sahel of Tunisia have home advantage over record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt in Mediterranean resort Sousse, Sunday, in the other first leg.
The four title contenders are chasing a record $2.5 million (2.1 euros) first prize.