A Brian Mwila brace helped Zambia keep their 2018 World Cup qualification dream alive with a 3-1 win over Algeria on Saturday, leaving the Desert Foxes’ hopes of reaching Russia in tatters.
The result in Lusaka moves Zambia up to second in Group B after three matches, five points behind leaders Nigeria.
Algeria – who were without play maker Riyad Mahrez – are bottom of the standings on just one point.
Elsewhere, Ivory Coast were 3-0 winners in Gabon to go top of Group C.
Zambia’s Brian Mwila scored the first of his two goals against Algeria from a powerful header off a well-placed Augustine Mulenga cross in the sixth minute.
Mwila added a second after 32 minutes, this time with a close-range shot after Algerian goalkeeper and captain, Rais Mbolhi, failed to keep hold of the ball.
Algeria fought back in the second half and were rewarded with a goal from just outside the box by Yacine Brahimi in the 53rd minute.
The Desert Foxes were given a further boost just three minutes later when Zambia’s Fashion Sakala was sent off for a second yellow card.
However, Algeria found it difficult to get the equaliser and two minutes from time, substitute Enock Mwepu scored Zambia’s third to make it 3-1 to the hosts.
The result all-but ends Algeria’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but keeps Zambia’s slim hopes alive.
The two teams will meet again in Constantine on Tuesday.
In Libreville, Ivory Coast were 3-0 winners over Gabon to go top of Group C, two points above Morocco who thrashed Mali 6-0 on Friday.
After a barren first half, Max Gradel opened the scoring for the visitors with a goal in the 53rd minute.
Seydou Doumbia – currently on loan at Sporting in Portugal from Roma – then struck twice in six minutes to give the Elephants the win.
Both his goals were supplied by Gervinho, the first coming on 77 minutes when he lifted the ball over Gabon’s goalkeeper.
His second, on 83 minutes, went in off the far post after a sweetly-struck strike.
Gabon were without their talismanic forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was not available for this fixture.
Ivory Coast have not lost in World Cup qualifying for 26 games – a run that has been going for 12 years.
On Tuesday, the two teams will face each other again in Bouake.