Nasser Maher and Marwan Mohsen scored to emerge as Al Ahly heroes against Jimma Kenema, who were expected to be beaten by a bigger margin.
The Egyptian giants may not have to work overtime when they visit Jimma for the return leg next week although the possibility of an upset cannot be ruled out.
Having finished as Champions League runners-up for the past two seasons, Al Ahly’s start might be a statement of intent for this season.
Elsewhere, Libyan side Al Nasr left Horoya with a mountain to climb after recording a 3-0 win in a match which was played in Cairo due to security concerns in Libya.
Moataz Al Mahdi netted a brace while Horoya’s Malian defender Marius Assoko scored an own goal to give Al Nasr the three-goal advantage.
Last season’s group stage contestants Horoya are now facing elimination and have to be at their best in the second leg at home to overturn the deficit.
In the Caf Confederation Cup, Edson Antonio Felix Va scored the all-important goal as Angolan giants Petro Atletico won 1-0 at DR Congolese side Nyuki.
Va struck 29 minutes into the match to separate the two sides as Petro Atletico took the lead heading into the second leg at home in Luanda.
It was an important victory on the road for the Angolans, who now look to finish off the tie when they host the Congolese side at home next week.