Cameroon came from behind to trump Cape Verde Islands 2-1 on Saturday and became the second country to reach the final African qualifying phase for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The Samuel Eto-less "Indomitable Lions" joined Nigeria in the third round thanks to second-half goals from substitutes Achille Emana and Alain Nkong on the Atlantic island.
Veteran Claudio Lito'Aguiar raised hopes of a shock Group 1 victory for the Blue Sharks with a 39th-minute goal, but Emana levelled six minutes into the second half and Nkong struck the winner on 65 minutes.
Barcelona striker Eto'o missed the top-of-the-table clash due to a one-match suspension and Cameroon struggled up front until German coach Otto Pfister replaced Modeste Mbami and Achille Webo at half-time.
Cameroon have 13 points and Cape Verde (nine) could join them as one of the best eight runners-up from the 12 groups if they overcome Tanzania in Dar es Salaam next month.
Tanzania ended a four-match run without a win by walloping Mauritius 4-1 in Curepipe through goals by Jerson Tegete (brace), Shadrack Nsajigwa and Nizzar Khalfan, but are doomed to finish third on the standings.
Giant killers Burkina Faso had their hopes of joining Cameroon in the next phase put on hold after a goalless showdown with Tunisia in Ouagadougou.
The Burkinabe Stallions needed maximum points to clinch first place in Group 9 and they were seeking a double over Tunisia.
A draw in Burundi will assure Burkina Faso of first place while regular World Cup qualifiers Tunisia, three points adrift, complete their six-match schedule at home to whipping boys Seychelles.
Burundi were the latest nation to defeat the Indian Ocean islanders, winning 2-1 in Victoria thanks to goals from Henry Mbazumutima and Claude Nahimana before Philip Zialor reduced arrears.
Minnows Sierra Leone climbed above 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa into second spot in Group 4 after defeating Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in Freetown via goals from Kewullay Conteh and Sheriff Suma.
Juvenal Edjogo scored a stoppage-time consolation goal for the visitors who were suffering a fourth consecutive loss after launching their campaign with a home victory over the Leone Stars three months ago.
South Africa dominated runaway leaders Nigeria in Port Elizabeth only to lose 1-0 when a counter-attack 20 minutes from full-time ended with Ikechukwu Uche firing a low shot past Itumeleng Khune.
Kenya moved three points clear of Guinea at the top of Group 2 by edging Namibia 1-0 in Nairobi, with Jamal Mohammed converting a penalty on the stroke of halftime after John Njoroge was tripped.
Gambia thrashed Liberia 3-0 in a Group 6 West Africa derby to move above Senegal into second place, one point behind Algeria. Njogu Demba scored twice and Ousman Jallow once during the first half in Banjul. - Sapa-AFP