Senegalese Ibrahima Sane scored midway through the second half in northern town Shandy to earn Hilal a 2-1 victory over local club Al Ahly, qualifiers for the mini-league phase of the second-tier competition at the first attempt.
Mudathir Eltaib put 2010 Confederation Cup semi-finalists Hilal ahead on the stroke of half-time and Hamouda Basheer levelled ten minutes into the second half.
Al Merreikh, the great domestic rivals of Hilal, defeated Angolan visitors InterClube 1-0 in the other Group A match with Ahmed El Basha snatching the winner five minutes from time.
Salif Coulibaly scored after four minutes and Mahamane Cisse doubled the lead midway through the second half as Djoliba triumphed 2-0 over 2009 Confederation Cup title holders Stade Malien in Bamako.
Success gave Djoliba an early two-point Group B advantage over AC Leopards of Congo and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, who drew 1-1 in central Africa with an Eric Niemba goal for the local club cancelled by Abderrazak El Mnasfi.