2015 African Champions League: Holders Setif beaten at home
Title-holders Entente Setif suffered a 2-1 home defeat against fellow Algerians USM Alger as they resumed the defence of their African Champions League crown.
Setif were favoured to win the Group B clash on the strength of having won the premier African club competition for a second time last year.
But USM, back in the mini-league phase after a decade's absence, must have sensed they had a chance given the continuous failures of Setif to exploit home advantage.
Entente Setif lifted the trophy last season despite drawing all three home group games, and a previous appearance in 2010 yielded only one win, a draw and a defeat.
Setif did look the likelier scorers against USM until the visitors snatched two goals within 13 minutes during the second half.
Mohamed Seguer broke the deadlock on the hour in eastern Algeria by heading in a Zineddine Ferhat cross.
Captain Nassereddine Khoualed doubled the lead by finishing off a free-kick.
Setif coach Kheireddine Madoui, who guided the club to African glory last year, reacted by introducing El-Hedi Belameiri and Ilyes Korbiaa.
The double substitution worked with Setif laying siege to the USM goalmouth and Korbiaa halved the deficit six minutes from time.
But the 2003 Champions League semi-finalists USM survived the onslaught and will host Al-Merreikh of Sudan in a top-of-the-table fixture on 10 July.
Elsewhere in Group B, Striker Bakri Al-Madina starred as Al Merreikh triumphed 2-0 against Algerian visitors El Eulma in Omdurman, across the Nile river from Khartoum.
Adel Naamane diverted a seemingly harmless Al-Madina cross past goalkeeper Mohamed Ousserir and into his own net after just six minutes.
The early goal set the tone for the first half with the hosts executing the pre-match rallying cry of coach Diego Garzitto to "attack, attack, attack".
Ghanaian Francis Coffie and Nigerian Solomon Jabason were among the Merreikh attackers who came close to increasing the lead.
Al-Madina was guilty of wasting chances, but he made amends 11 minutes into the second half by scoring from close range after Coffie set him up.
A serious situation for Eulma worsened just past the hour when Naamane was sent off for a foul on Al-Madina.
Eulma, hoping to become only the second lower-division club after Setif in 1988 to win the Champions League, were denied a late goal when goalkeeper Salim Omar foiled Walid Derrardja.
Another Sudanese club, Al Hilal managed to hold TP Mazembe to a 0-0 draw in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday as Group A kicked off.
Although Mazembe looked the more likelier to score, in the end they were fortunate not to lose with veteran goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba having to make a series of impressive saves to earn the Congolese outfit a point.
In the other Group A match Egypt's Smouha produced an impressive comeback to beat Moghreb Tetouan of Morocaan 3-2 on Sunday.
The result takes Smouha to the top of the group after the opening match.
Things began badly for the Egyptian side in their group-stage debut as they fell two goals behind inside 13 minutes with goals from Mourtada Fall and Ahmed Jahouh.
However, Salah Amin pulled one back for the hosts in the 66th minuteand Hermann Kouao then scored twice in as many minutes to seal a memorable victory.