Tunisia won 2-0 in Zambia to top Group B with six points while Nigeria came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory away in the Cape Verde Islands, despite missing eight players because of COVID-19 quarantine concerns, to top Group C.
Algeria led through Sofiane Feghouli's 18th-minute goal in Marrakesh, Morocco, but they conceded a second-half equaliser from Abdoul Tapsoba.
- Standings: CAF World Cup qualifying groups
- Results: Ivory Coast roll with Haller, South Africa down Ghana
But those performances from Africa's past World Cup representatives had little of the drama seen in the Group J clash between Tanzania and Madagascar in Dar-es-Salaam, where a penalty was awarded after five seconds.
The home team, Tanzania, punted a long ball forward from the kick off for Simon Mvusa to chase, and he was clattered into by Malagasy goalkeeper Melvin Adrien.
There is no official record for the fastest penalty awarded, but Montenegro got a spot kick after 10 seconds when they beat Ghana in a friendly international in Podgorica in 2014.
Tanzania captain Erastus Nyoni converted the spot kick, and his side went on to win 3-2 and move to the top of the group standings alongside Benin on four points.
A stoppage-time penalty saw Ethiopia edge Zimbabwe 1-0 in Bahir Dar in Group G, while Iban Salvador's penalty just before the hour mark handed Equatorial Guinea a 1-0 home success over Mauritania in Malabo in Group B.
Libya are the surprise leaders in Group F, two points ahead of neighbours Egypt after two games, as they won 1-0 in Angola with Omar Al Khoja scoring on the cusp of halftime for a second successive win under veteran Spanish coach Javier Clemente.
Malawi netted after 10 minutes through Richard Mbulu to beat neighbours Mozambique in their Group D match played in Johannesburg, South Africa, while Guinea Bissau won 4-2 away to Sudan in Group I with two first half goals for diminutive winger Piqueti.
The group phase of Africa's qualifying competition continues with two more rounds in October and concludes in November. The 10 group winners will be drawn into five playoff games in March to decide the continent's representatives at the World Cup.