Captain Ibrahim Ahmada's stunning long range shot ensured a potentially precious point for Madagascar, as they came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with the powerful Ivory Coast in Antananarivo on Tuesday.
The result in the Group K qualifier keeps Barea on track for a second successive trip to the finals, after their stunning debt at the tournament in Egypt in 2019.
Madagascar share top place in the group with the Ivorians on seven points while Ethiopia are just one point back.
The Ivorians, who had beaten Madagascar 2-1 at home last Friday, took a 15th minute lead after Frank Kessie netted a penalty awarded by Egyptian referee Gehad Gerisha.
But Ahmada scored a brilliant rasping effort from way outside the penalty area to equalise in the 51st minute.
The Ivorians might have snatched a late win but Kessie's 76th minute effort came back off the crossbar.
Madagascar finish their campaign with a tough tie away at Ethiopia in Addis Ababa followed by a home game against Niger in March.