CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP):
Cameroon slipped to a surprise loss at Cape Verde, Central African Republic moved closer to their first major tournament and defending champions Zambia won narrowly at the start of the final round of qualifying for the African Cup on Saturday.
Ivory Coast came from 1-0 and 2-1 down to beat Senegal 4-2 in the first leg of their tie. Ghana beat Malawi 2-0.
Cameroon lost 2-0 and are in danger of missing out on their second straight African Cup ahead of decisive second-leg matches in October. Just seven months after lifting the trophy in Gabon, Zambia entered qualifying for next year's tournament in South Africa with a 1-0 home win over Uganda through a first-half goal by captain Christopher Katongo.
After eliminating seven-time winners Egypt in the last round, Central African Republic are one game away from a long-awaited place at the Cup of Nations after a 1-0 victory in their home leg against Burkina Faso. Nigeria were held to 2-2 in Liberia.
Mali beat Botswana 3-0
Elsewhere, Mali beat Botswana 3-0, strikers Daniel Cousin and Emmanuel Adebayor scored as Gabon and Togo drew 1-1, Sierra Leone and Tunisia drew 2-2 and Sudan beat Ethiopia 5-3 as the last round of qualifiers began with 10 first-leg matches.
The remaining five ties kicked off yesterday as 30 teams battle over two legs for a place at the 16-team African Cup alongside hosts South Africa.
Without captain and leading striker Samuel Eto'o, who has refused to return to international duty after a lengthy ban, Cameroon lost against a team that was once ranked well below the four-time African champions. Now, only four places separate the slumping 61st-ranked Cameroon and Cape Verde in the FIFA rankings and the Indomitable Lions have a two-goal deficit to overturn back at home if they are to avoid joining Egypt as another high-profile absentee at the continental championship.
Cte d'Ivoire , the top-ranked African team and losing finalist in Gabon, relied on goals by star names Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, Didier Drogba and Max Gradel to battle past Senegal in Abidjan, which had led through Dame N'Doye and then Papiss Cisse.
Cameroon lost 2-0 and are in danger of missing out on their second straight African Cup ahead of decisive second-leg matches in October.