A memorable Nazar Hamid goal earned Sudanese Al Hilal a 2-0 win over Egyptians Smouha at the weekend and first place in a CAF Champions League group.
Four-time African champions TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo drew 0-0 at Moroccans Moghreb Tetouan in the other Group A matchday 2 clash.
Surprise pacesetters Hilal top the table with four points having exceeded expectations two weeks ago by holding Mazembe goalless in Lubumbashi.
Group debutants Smouha have three points, Mazembe two and Tetouan, another club playing in the mini-league stage for the first time, one.
Mazembe, a vastly experienced mix of Congolese, Ghanaian, Malian, Tanzanian and Zambian stars, were expected to dominate the mini-league.
But twice Champions League runners-up Hilal have been the most impressive team so far under recently recruited Tunisian coach Nabil Kouki.
They were the superior side in a goalless first half against Smouha, a star-less outfit who reached the eight-club group stage despite losing all three away qualifiers.
Hilal took the lead seven minutes after halftime at a packed Omdurman stadium through Nasr Ahmed after a goalmouth scramble following a corner.
If the opening goal was scrappy, the victory-clinching second goal was sublime, triggering wild celebrations among the 35 000 crowd.
Gaining possession during a counter-attack nine minutes from time, substitute Hamid dribbled past three defenders before beating goalkeeper Mahdy Soliman.
Smouha, who wiped out a two-goal deficit to defeat Tetouan in Alexandria two weeks ago, offered little going forward and Salah Amin wasted a late chance to score a consolation goal by heading wide.
Tetouan had the edge during the first half and Mazembe looked the likelier winners as the second half progressed in northern Morocco.
Veteran pony-tailed Congolese goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba – famous for his bouncing-bottom goal celebrations – saved an early Abdeladin Khadrouf header.
A clumsy clearance by Mazembe defender Chongo Kabaso offered Tetouan another scoring opportunity, but Ouald El Haj Salma failed to take advantage.
Moroccan Mohamed El Yousfi was the busier shot-stopper after the break, coming to the rescue on 55 minutes when captain Mohamed Arbahoun nearly conceded an own goal.
There was another scare for Tetouan when El Yousfi spilled a Mbwana Samata shot and Rainford Kalaba curled the loose ball toward the net only for giant Senegalese Mourtada Fall to head clear.
In Group B, title-holders Entente Setif won 1-0 at fellow Algerians Mouloudia El Eulma and there was another success for the North African nation when leaders USM Alger won 1-0 against Sudanese visitors Al Merrikh.