Mohamed Salah was the architect of the lone goal as Egypt edged Senegal 1-0 in Cairo in a World Cup playoff first leg.
Salah turned inside the box and slammed the ball against the crossbar, with the rebound hitting Senegal defender Saliou Ciss and rolling into the net.
Friday’s eagerly-awaited clash was a repeat of the Africa Cup of Nations final last month that Senegal won 4-2 on penalties in Cameroon after 120 goalless minutes.
Elsewhere in Africa’s qualifying playoffs, Algeria’s Islam Slimani headed home for a 1-0 away victory over Cameroon to take a giant step towards a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Algeria host the return tie in Blida on Tuesday, well placed to qualify for their fifth appearance at the World Cup.
The match was interrupted for six minutes early in the second half as the lights went out in the newly built Japoma stadium in Douala but were quickly restored.
It meant there were 11 minutes of added time, with Cameroon furiously trying to attack but Algeria getting all their players behind the ball as they held out for the victory.
Tarik Tissoudali scored a brilliant equaliser as Morocco moved closer to a sixth World Cup appearance by drawing 1-1 with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa.
A move that began with a superb slide tackle by Moroccan defender Romain Saiss ended with Tissoudali rifling the ball into the net on 76 minutes in the first leg of their playoff.
Yoane Wissa had given DRC a 12th-minute lead, sprinting down the wing, cutting inside and unleashing a shot from just outside the box that brushed Saiss and beat goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
With away goals counting double if teams finish level on aggregate, a 0-0 draw in Casablanca on Tuesday would take Morocco to the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Nigeria had to settle for a 0-0 draw in Ghana after VAR overruled a decision to award the visitors a penalty.
A review of the decision in the closing stages of the west African showdown in Kumasi found that Ghana midfielder Iddrisu Baba was fouled before he handled.
Egypt 1-0 Senegal
Ghana 0-0 Nigeria
Cameroon 0-1 Algeria
Mali 0-1 Tunisia
DRC 1-1 Morocco