Zimbabwe suffered their first defeat in the Afcon qualifiers after going down 3-1 against Algeria on Matchday 3 on Thursday.
The Warriors put on a lifeless first-half performance, wasting two glorious chances in the opening minutes which could have broken the deadlock early.
Khama Billiat was the first to get an opportunity on goal, but his shot from an acute angle was saved by the keeper in the fourth minute. Tino Kadewere followed up moments later but his free header, from Knowledge Musona’s cross, went over the bar.
The home team picked up the tempo and started dictating the pace but had to wait until the half-hour mark to get their breakthrough through Baghdad Bounedjah.
The 28-year old created three quick successive chances with the third one finding the back of the net after mopping in a spill by goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
Sofiane Feghouli added another one for the Desert Foxes on minute 42. He was left unmarked inside the box to head home Riyad Mahrez’s cross.
Zimbabwe showed some signs of intent in the opening moments of the second, but they fell again into the shadows of their opponents.
Despite lagging, Kadewere almost pulled one back for the visitors on minute 55 but was denied by the keeper 1-v-1.
However, he finally got his goal twenty minutes later, but after Mahrez had put on a brilliant solo effort to make it 3-0.
Tino’s consolation drew some controversy after the striker seemed to have come from an offside position, but the flag stayed down.
The scoreline remained unchanged as Algeria won the match 3-1 to extend their lead at the top nine points.
The Warriors remain in second with four points, followed by Zambia who beat Botswana 2-1 in another Group H clash.
Zimbabwe will host Algeria in Harare on Monday in a Matchday 4 of the qualifiers.
Algeria XI: R. Mbolhi (GK), R. Halaimia, A. Mandi, M. Tahrat, R. Bensebaini, I. Bennacer, M. Abeid, S. Feghouli, R. Mahrez (c), Y. Brahimi, B. Bounedjah.
Zim XI: E. Chipezeze (GK), T. Darikwa, A. Mudimu, T. Hadebe, D. Lunga, J. Zemura, M. Nakamba, O. Karuru, K. Musona (c), K. Billiat, T. Kadewere.