Zambia international forward Lazarus Kambole picked up from where he left off last season by grabbing Zesco United’s winning goal in their 2-1 victory over AS Sonidep of Niger in Niamey.
It was a crucial away win for Zesco, who struck first through Rahim Osumanu in the 75th minute thanks to an assist by Enock Sabamukama.
But Koffi Dognon responded with a goal for the hosts to make it 1-1 three minutes later.
With the match seemingly headed for a stalemate, Kambole had the final say by turning in a pass from Maybin Kalengo four minutes from time.
Kambole was one of the Champions League top scorers last season with notably his finest performance being a hat-trick struck away at Mbabane Swallows in a group match.
In another match, Cameroonian giants Cotonsport Garoua were stunned in Burkina Faso, going down 3-1 to Asfb who were making a return to the Champions League for the first time in 48 years.
After taking a 32nd minute lead, an away victory looked almost certain for Cotonsport but they collapsed to allow Sami Hien, Michel Batiebo and Armand Sanou to hit back for Asfb.
Now the 2008 Champions League finalists are facing a possible exit, and the second leg in Garoua next week will be a sink or swim tie for them.
Elsewhere, Lesotho champions Bantu forced a 1-1 draw with wasteful Township Rollers away at Lobatse Sports Complex.
Thatayaone Ditlhokwe thrust Rollers ahead on 58 minutes but Litshepe Marane hit back for the visitors four minutes later.
Having participated in the 2018 Caf Champions League group stages in a pool that had losing finalists Al Ahly and champions Esperance, Rollers were largely tipped not to sweat much against Bantu.
They will now go into the second leg facing the grim possibility of being undone by Bantu’s away goal.
Meanwhile, perennial Champions League campaigners and two-time finalists Al Hilal recorded a big win after hammering JKU of Zanzibar 4-0.
New DR Congolese signing Idriss Mbombo, Brazilian forward Geovane Silva, Malian Boubacar Diarra and Abdellatif Saied were on target for the Sudanese giants Al Hilal.
Having struggled to make an impact in Caf inter-club competitions in recent years, Al Hilal will want to build on their huge victory.
Another win on the opening day was registered by Libyan side Al Nasr, who thumped South Sudanese outfit Al Hilal Juba 5-1 in a match played in Cairo due to security reasons.
There were two matches that ended in goalless draws. Volcan Club of Comoros held Namibian champions African Stars while Algerian outfit CS Constantine also played to a goalless draw with Gamtel of Gambia.