Aristide Bance was on target as Burkina Faso won 1-0 in Congo on Saturday to restore their World Cup hopes and puncture home dreams of a spot in the last round of the African preliminaries.
The forward netted in the 38th minute in Pointe Noire to put the Burkinabe one point behind Congo with one game to go in Group E qualifying.
Congo, after reaching the halfway point with a 100 percent record, now face the prospect of being overhauled in September when the last fixtures are played.
Had they drawn on Saturday they would have been the first side to book a place in the playoffs at the end of the year to decide Africa’s five representatives for Brazil 2014.
A hat-trick of penalties from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang led Gabon to a 4-1 win over Niger, but his team are still three points off the pace.
The revival of the Burkinabe, surprise runners-up at the Nations Cup, but docked points in the World Cup qualifiers for using an ineligible player, contrasts with the failing fortunes of last year’s continental champions Zambia, who were held to a home draw.
Sudan’s Mohamed Abdallah equalized after Jacob Mulenga had given the hosts a 70th-minute lead in Ndola. The 1-1 scoreline put Zambia two points clear in Group D, but they expected to be overhauled yesterday when Ghana were due to take on minnows Lesotho.
Zambia’s hopes are now likely to hinge on their match in Ghana in September.
Morocco beat Gambia 2-0 to move two points behind leaders Ivory Coast in Group C although the latter would seal their place in the next round if they won in Tanzania yesterday.
Two late goals saw Uganda come from behind to beat Angola 2-1 in Kampala and take a two-point lead in Group J. However, favorites Senegal would go top again with a victory in Liberia yesterday.