The first half ended scoreless although Zesco had the better of the modest chances they had during that period.
Idris Mbombo had two tame chances; the first a shot saved in the 18th minute by Mohamed Abougabal and the latter again denied the Zesco striker two minutes later when he attempted an overhead kick.
Meanwhile, Smouha’s best attempt of the first half came 10 minutes into the match when Ahmed Hamed teased goalkeeper Jacob Banda with a header from Patrick Malo's cross that went inches wide.
Smouha also gave Zesco a scare in the 49th minute when Islam Serry’s shot glazed the woodwork.
However, Zesco continued to enjoy the lion's share on the offensive after the break and got the breakthrough in the 72nd minute via a penalty.
This was after Malo handled John Chingandu shot and Jesse Were stepped up and successfully converted home for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
Zesco could have added another in the 81st minute but Fackson Kapumbu’s shot was parried by Abougabal.
The Zambians have 3 points while Smouha slump to the bottom of Group C pointless.
Group C leadership on match day one will be decided on Sunday with CRD Libolo of Angola hosting Al Hilal Obeid of Sudan in Luanda.