Algeria moved closer to qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 victory over Malawi in Blantyre Saturday.
Defenders scored both goals with Rafik Halliche putting the ‘Desert Foxes’ ahead on 10 minutes and substitute Djamel Mesbah adding a second in stoppage time.
Halliche nodded a corner past goalkeeper McDonald Harawa and Mesbah scored with a deflected close-range shot for the top-ranked team in Africa.
Victory before a capacity 30,000 crowd at Kamuzu Stadium lifted Group B leaders Algeria to nine points from three matches after defeating Ethiopia and Mali last month.
Another win over Malawi in Blida Wednesday would guarantee the 1990 African champions a top-two finish and a place among the 16 finalists.
In the other Group B game, Ethiopia suffered their third defeat in the qualifiers as they lost 2-0 to Mali at Addis Ababa stadium.
Mali’s Abdoulaye Diaby opened the scoring in the 33th minute and Sambou Yatabare made the three points safe with a 60th-minute goal.
Ethiopia are at the bottom of Group B with no points as they lost all their three games in the qualifiers: 2-1 to Algeria, 3-2 to Malawi and 2-0 to Mali.
The qualifier took place amid a demand from 2015 hosts Morocco that the January 17-February 8 tournament be postponed over the Ebola epidemic.
But the African Football Confederation (CAF) reacted Saturday by saying the three-week championship will go ahead as scheduled.
More than 4,000 people had died from the virus this year, according to the World Health Organisation, with virtually all the victims living in west African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.