Captain Ibrahim Ahmada’s brilliant long-range shot secured a potentially precious point for Madagascar when they returned from a goal in Antananarivo on Tuesday to draw 1-1 with the powerful Ivory Coast.
The result in the Group K qualification keeps Barea on track for a second consecutive trip to the final, after their glorious debt at the 2019 tournament in Egypt.
Madagascar shares the best spot in the group with the Ivorians on seven points, while Ethiopia is just one point back.
The Ivorians, who beat Madagascar 2-1 at home last Friday, took a 15-minute lead after Frank Kessie scored a penalty goal by Egyptian referee Gehad Gerisha.
Ahmada struck a 30 meter free kick home 51 minutes into the match.
The Ivorians may have scored a late victory, but Kessie’s attempt in the 76th minute bounced back from the crossbar.
Madagascar ends their campaign with a tough draw in Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, followed by a home game against Niger in March.