Defender Alaa Eldin Yousif Hado and Ghana-import Augustine Okrah scored in each half to take Merreikh to seven points, three more than Setif, who played the entire second half with a man less after defender Ryad Keniche was sent off for a second yellow card just before the break.
Merreikh, who have never hidden their ambition to go farthest in the premier continental club championship this season, had the better of the exchanges, fluffing several goal scoring chances including a penalty.
Four minutes before the break, the hosts saw their consistent pressing earn them a penalty after Setif goalie Abdelwahab Khedairia came off his line to fell Bakri Al Medina Babeker in a one-on-one situation.
The resultant spot kick was converted by Yousef who sent Khedairia the wrong way to give homers the lead.
With half time almost knocking, Setif were reduced to 10-men after Keniche was sent for a foul on Ghanaian-born Francis Coffie.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Setif resumed on a purposeful note and Abdelmalik Ziaya almost levelled three minutes past the hour mark only for a timely clearance from Musaab Omer to deny him.
On 73 minutes, Setif’s Sid Ali Lamri handled Didier Lebri’s shot for a penalty. This time, Yousif’s shot from the shot distance hit the crossbar despite Khedairia completely beaten.
Okrah replaced Lebri moments later and sealed victory on the stroke of full time, with a low shot from a Al Medina pass from the left.
Diego Garzitto (Head Coach, El Merreikh)
We played against a great team. We wanted to score in the opening minutes. They (ES Setif) also got opportunities from counter-attacks, but in the end we won and got the three points. We want to continue winning till the end of this stage. We had an approach to the game by not allowing ES Setif to control the game. There are still two matches to play. We can finish second in the group but our aim is to top the group.
Ramadan Agab (Midfielder, El Merreikh)
The coach demanded us to keep the ball in the second half, and pass the ball whether short or long sometimes. We are adamant and determined to reach an advanced stage in the group. We are bent on winning the trophy, not just reaching the final.
Belkhir Riadh (Assistant Coach, ES Setif)
We came to Sudan to win, but playing with ten men made our task very difficult. Merreikh is a great team and they caused problems for us during the game. They also benefited from playing with 11 players. We have not been eliminated from the tournament yet. Merreikh can suffer defeats in the remaining two games, but we have to win our next two games to qualify. All the clubs want to beat the reigning champion. We will play the remaining games with the same determination.
7.8.2015 21H15 El Hilal (Sudan) 0-1 Moghreb Tetouan (Morocco)
8.8.2015 15H30 TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 1-0 Smouha (Egypt)
7.8.2015 21H15 MC Eulma (Algeria) 0-1 USM Alger (Algeria)
9.8.2015 22H00 El Merreikh (Sudan) 2-0 ES Setif (Algeria)
*All times are in local time