After Etoile had an early goal disallowed for offside, Thamsanqa Gabuza gave Pirates the lead with an absolute screamer of a goal, receiving a pass from Thabo Matlaba with his back turned to goal, turning his man inside the box and smashing into the top-right corner with his left foot.
Matlaba missed a golden opportunity just before Gabuza's opener when he was played clear after a great pass from Kermit Erasmus, but the left-back rushed his shot and blazed high and wide when he really should have at least hit the target from six yards out with the goalkeeper scrambling.
Felipe Ovono had a few comfortable saves to make but was nearly embarrassed by his own defender as Siyabonga Sangweni failed to communicate. Etoile striker Baghdad Boundjah ran onto the loose ball but could not direct the ball into an open goal.
The game looked to be heading for a 1-0 end when the visitors clawed back an important away-goal out of nothing. A free-kick was floated into the area, the Pirates defence failed to clear and the ball ricocheted to captain Ammal Jemal, who gratefully accepted the gift at the far post, unmarked, to make it 1-1.
The result is a crushing blow to the Buccaneers, who did nearly everything right but now have to score in Sousse to stand any chance of coming back home with a win.
Pirates XI: Ovono, Sangweni, Jele, Gcaba, Matlaba, Masalesa (Sarr 83'), Ntshumayelo, Makola, Rakhale, Gabuza, Erasmus (Motupa 88')
Subs: Mhlongo, Nyauza, Sarr, Motupa, Myeni, Masuku, Majoro
Etoile XI: Jebali, Abderrazak, Jemal, Boughattas, Naguez, Brigui (Saada 87'), Amine Ben Amor, Kom, Msakni (Diogo Da Costa) 85', Lahmar, Boundjah
Subs: Mathlouthi, Ben Aziza, Saada, Orkuma, Diogo Da Costa, Bedoui, Trabelsi