Zimbabwe ignored the long-running match-fixing scandal that has stripped it of a host of players to beat Angola 3-1 and give itself a strong chance of qualifying for just its third African Cup of Nations finals.
Without all its suspended players - and also striker Knowledge Musona and midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha who didn't travel from their clubs - Zimbabwe dominated the first half in Harare to lead 3-0 after an own goal by Bastos and goals by Khama Billiat and Archford Gutu. Angola pulled one back through Porto striker Djalma in the second.
But, while there's little sign of an end to investigations into the fixed tours to Asia that have brought Zimbabwean football to its lowest point, the depleted national team could now qualify for the Cup of Nations for the first time since 2006.
Morocco lost 2-0 in Mozambique in the first leg of the final round of qualifiers for next year's tournament in South Africa.
Eric Gerets' Morocco conceded twice late in the game to trail ahead of next month's second-leg matches - Almiro Lobo broke through for Mozambique in the 76th minute against a defensive Morocco team which had set itself up for a draw away from home. South Africa-based winger Elias Pelembe added a second a minute into added time.
Congo overpowered Equatorial Guinea 4-0 to move to the brink of qualifying.
Dieumerci Mbokani hit a hat-trick for Congo in a one-sided win over this year's Cup of Nations co-host as French coach Claude Le Roy's team established the biggest advantage of any team over the weekend.
Libya lost 1-0 to Algeria in neutral Morocco in a tight game that ended with a brawl between players and officials from both teams at the final whistle.
In Casablanca, Algeria won through a goal by Hillel Soudani two minutes from full-time before the ugly scenes when players skirmished.
Guinea will take a slender 1-0 aggregate lead to Niger as the last five of the 15 match-ups in the last round of qualifiers got underway.
Ibrahim Yattara broke the deadlock in Conakry five minutes into the second half for a narrow advantage.
The Cup of Nations is being held in consecutive years after organisers moved it to odd years to avoid a clash with the FIFA World Cup. The 2013 version was initially set to be hosted by Libya before it was moved for security reasons.
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