New Arsenal signing Gervinho set up two quick goals to help Ivory Coast to a thrilling 4-3 win over Israel on Wednesday in Geneva.
Yaya Toure and Didier Ya Konan were the beneficiaries of Gervinho's service - the other goals came from Moussa Kone and Didier Drogba's penalty.
Amongst the other winners were Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Morocco.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and Gabon were also in action.
Equatorial Guinea took on Guinea-Bissau in Lisbon and went down 4-1.
Guinea-Bissau were better organised and physically stronger than their opponents and scored four without reply before Equatorial Guinea's stand-out player Bodipo came on as a substitute and pulled one back for them.
The other Nations Cup co-hosts, Gabon drew 1-1 with Guinea near Paris.
Vita Mbanangoye put Gabon in front just before half-time but his goal was cancelled out by Guinean substitute Sadio Diallo with around 15 minutes remaining.
Tunisia beat visitors Mali 4-2 in Monastir.
Sami Allagui, who scored for his German side Mainz at the weekend, gave the Carthage Eagles the lead on 19 minutes and then Ammar Jemal added a second from the penalty spot.
Madibo Maiga pulled one back for Mali on the stroke of half-time before Allagui grabbed his second of the match four minutes after the break.
Cheikh Diabate got Mali's second 10 minutes into the second-half, but it was not enough as Issam Jomaa sealed the win with seven minutes remaining.
Morocco beat Senegal 2-0 in Dakar, inflicting a first home defeat on the Teranga Lions since December 2001.
Both goals came in the first half, through captain Houssine Kharja and striker Youssef El Arabi.
in Harare, Zimbabwe dominated Zambia to earn a 2-0 victory in Harare, with outstanding midfielder Willard Katsande scoring the opener on 45 minutes.
The second goal was scored two minutes after the break by Khama Billiat, Katsande's team-mate at South African club Ajax Cape Town.
In other results, Botswana, who have already qualified for the finals, beat Kenya 1-0 in Gabarone.
South Africa beat Burkina Faso 3-0 in Johannesburg, with a double strike from Katlego Mphela complemented by a goal from stand-in captain Siphiwe Tshabala.
In Niamey, Niger staged an impressive fight back against visiting Togo.
Togo were 3-1 up in the match before Niger, who are challenging for a place at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, scored twice to level the score and game ended in a draw.
The Gambia had a sound 3-0 victory over DR Congo in Banjul, although both teams were missing key players.
Tijan Jaiteh opened the scoring for the home team midway through the first half and shortly afterwards the lead was extended by Demba Savage.
The win for the Scorpions was complete when Momodou Ceesay scored from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute.
In Malta, Central African Republic were beaten 2-1 by the home team.