The 1998 winners beat their host 1-0 in their 1/16th round first leg tie at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola to hand the Zambian club its first-ever loss at their sacred Ndola home ground.
And the loss was suffered in even painful fashion following an own-goal from Zambia youth star, Solomon Sakala, in only his third game for Zesco since joining them this year from Napsa Stars.
But there was little drama before the goal especially in the first quarter until Zesco missed sitters in quick succession, the 16th minute when unmarked attacking duo of Jesse Were and Adams Zikiru both failed to connect with a John Chingandu pass that went inches wide of the far left post.
The Ivorians then sent warning shots in the 34th minute through striker Komlan Agbegniadan who saw his shot gathered by goalkeeper Jacob Banda.
But Agbengniadan made not mistake three minutes later when his shot from an acute angle on the left side of the box found Sakala hugging the far right post before the ball deflected off the defender and crossed the line.
Zikiru had another great opportunity in the 49th minute when it seemed easier to score with open space in front of him when he fired wide after some good work by Were.
That was Zikiru's last contribution to the cause before veteran striker Winston Kalengo replaced him in the 53rd minute.
Kalengo's arrival brought some impetus and it almost paid off in the 57th minute but his bullet header was collected by Cisse.
Zesco then piled the pressure for the last 30 minutes but ASEC’s defence led by Mohammed Lamine held on for a historic victory over the Zambian champions.
The victory was also the first by an Ivorian club against Zesco from five meetings after two losses and as many draws shared between ASEC and Africa Sport since 2009.
Meanwhile, Zesco must now dig deep on March 17 away in Abidjan get a win to ensure they qualify to the league phase of the competition in May.
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
Al Ahly (Egypt) 4-0 Mounana (Gabon)
Horoya (Guinea)2-1 Generation Foot (Senegal)
Young Africans (Tanzania) 1-2 Township Rollers (Botswana)
Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) 4-2 Plateau United (Nigeria)
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Saint George (Ethiopia) 0-0 KCCA (Uganda)
Zanaco (Zambia) 1-2 Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)
Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco) 7-2 Williamsville AC (Cote d’Ivoire)
Aduana (Ghana)1-0 ES Setif (Algeria)
MFM (Nigeria) 2-1 MC Alger (Algeria)
Gor Mahia (Kenya) 0-0 Esperance (Tunisia)
AS Togo (Togo) 2-0 El Hilal (Sudan)
Zesco (Zambia) 0-1 ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire)
TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 4-0 UD Songo (Mozambique)
Difaa Hassan (Morocco) 1-0 AS Vita (DR Congo)
Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 1-0 Bidvest (South Africa)
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)