Tanzania's hopes of finishing top of Group J to advance to the next phase of the World Cup qualifiers suffered a massive blow after a 3-0 loss to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Leopards silenced the home crowd at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium after just five minutes courtesy of Gael Kakuta, with the second goal coming after the break, through Fasika Idumba. Ben Malango scored a third late to seal the win away.
Taifa Stars started the match brightly hoping to get an opening goal early. In the second minute, Simon Msuva -who has been influential for the East Africans in this campaign, played a brilliant one-two with his captain Mbwana Samatta, but his effort missed the target by a whisker.
Three minutes later, the hosts were caught in a counter-attack, and the ball was passed to Diumerci Mbokani. The skipper had time to look up and set up Kakuta who controlled the ball well before smashing past Aishi Manula at the near post for the opening goal.
In the 12th minute, the Leopards conceded a free-kick about 25-yards from goal. Samatta stepped up but his fierce drive did not trouble the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Cedric Bakambu came close in the 37th minute, but this time Manula managed to deal with the danger.
Three minutes later, the visitors were dealt a massive blow when their influential midfielder Glody Likonza was substituted after getting injured and Arthur Masuaku took his place.
But no team managed to get a goal in the remaining five minutes of the first half.
It was Stars who started the second half with intent; the substitute managed to find Samatta in the danger zone. The attacker did well to get past his marker but a last-ditch goal line clearance denied him.
In the 54th minute, Dickson Job had a chance to score after defensive lapses allowed him into the area but good defending ended with the ball out for a corner.
The set-piece was played in well and the unmarked Kennedy Juma rose highest to head the ball on target, but Joel Kiassumbua pulled a quality save to deny him and put the ball out for an unfruitful corner.
But all efforts to salvage at least a point were thwarted with 25 minutes to go. A short corner was played by the Leopards and a cross was played in Stars' 12-yard area. The unmarked Idumba had no problem finding the back of the net to double his team's advantage.
Moments later, Manula had to step up and deny Yannick Bolassie who had replaced Kakuta.
With five minutes to go, Malango nodded in a cross to seal the vital win.
The win takes the Congolese top of the group with eight points, pending the outcome between Benin and Madagascar. Tanzania dropped to third owing to their inferior goal difference.