Brian Mwila struck twice as Zambia secured a surprise victory over Algeria at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Saturday to all but end the North African heavyweights' hopes of a third consecutive World Cup appearance.
The visitors responded through Yacine Brahimi in the second half, but despite losing Fashion Sakala to a red card, Zambia killed off any hopes of an Algerian comeback in the 88th minute when Enock Mwepu struck on the counter.
The result leaves Algeria bottom of Group B after three matches, with Lucas Alcaraz's side having taken just one point from their fixtures to date.
They remain eight points behind leaders Nigeria following their 4-0 thrashing of Africa's champions Cameroon on Friday, while Zambia move up to four, ahead of the Indomitable Lions, in third, on two points.
Zambia failed to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and started their World Cup qualifying campaign sluggishly, but were vibrant from the off against Algeria, taking the lead in the sixth minute when Mwila rose above the visiting defence to head past Rais M'Bolhi.
The newly acquired Platinum Stars forward added to his tally in the 32nd minute when he reacted quickest to poke home from close range after M'Bolhi had spilled the ball in the box.
Algeria improved after the break, and Brahimi halved the deficit with a delicious effort from outside the area that evaded Zambian stopper Kennedy Mweene.
The visitors' hopes of completing the comeback were boosted when Sakala received a second yellow card for a reckless challenge and he was sent off in tears in the 56th minute.
However, despite the introduction of Rachid Ghezzal and Idriss Saadi, Algeria struggled to break down the home side's defence and their efforts grew increasingly frantic as the game wore on.
Ultimately, Mwepu sealed all three points for the home side two minutes from time when he lashed a ball across M'Bolhi's goal and into the far corner as the hosts caught Algeria on the counter attack.
The two sides meet in the reverse fixture in Constantine on Tuesday, and while Algeria will be boosted by the return of Riyad Mahrez, they will already be eliminated if Nigeria beat Cameroon in Yaounde on Monday.