Algeria thrashed 10-man Djibouti 8-0 in 2022 World Cup qualifying on Thursday with Islam Slimani scoring four times on a landmark night for the Lyon striker.
His performance placed him joint top of Algeria’s goal-scoring standings, putting him level on 36 goals with Abdelhafid Tasfaout.
Ramy Bensebaini, Baghdad Bounedjah, Riyad Mahrez and Ramiz Zerrouki were also on the score-sheet as the African champions extended their unbeaten run to 28 matches.
Algeria’s task in Blida was made easier when Batio Mohamed Youssouf was sent off for the visitors mid-way through the first half.
The victory puts Algeria top of Group A – above Burkina Faso who beat Niger 2-0 thanks to goals from Lassina Traore and Mohamed Konate.
They had to play the tie in Marrakesh because Niger had their home ground declared unsuitable for international football by the Confederation of African Football.
Burkina Faso also suffered the same punishment and will also host Algeria on Tuesday in Marrakesh.
East African rivals Kenya and Uganda drew 0-0 in Nairobi on Thursday in a Group E match where chances were hard to come by.
The derby marked a return to the Cranes for Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic who was re-appointed as Uganda coach in July.
Mali are early leaders in the group after their 1-0 win over Rwanda a day earlier.
Also on Thursday, the Democratic Republic of Congo were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanzania in their Group J opener in Lubumbashi.
DR Congo veteran striker Dieumerci Mbokani marked his return to the national team with a goal.
The 35-year-old, who has just completed a move to Kuwait Premier League side Kuwait SC, put the hosts 1-0 up in the 23rd minute.
Tanzania struck back 13 minutes later with an equaliser from Simon Msuva to collect what could be a vital point away from home.
In a later game in the same group on Thursday, Benin went top of the standings with a 1-0 win away to Madagascar courtesy of a Steve Mounie strike in the first half.
Namibia’s draw with Congo Brazzaville in Group H on Thursday proved eventful for defender Charles Hambira who scored at both ends.
He put Namibia ahead in the 24th minute only to hit an own-goal in the second half as the match finished 1-1.
In another late kick-off on Thursday, Morocco began their Group I campaign with a 2-0 win over Sudan in Rabat. A Nayef Aguerd strike and an own-goal from Abuaagla Abdalla gave the Atlas Lions a winning start to their group campaign.
The countries who finish first in each of the 10 groups will progress to the final round of qualifying with five African nations progressing to the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022.