Madagascar claimed a 1-0 victory over São Tomé and Príncipe in the first leg of their 2019 African Nations Cup preliminary round qualifier.
The Malagasy will be favourites to complete the job when they host the second leg in Antananarivo on Sunday.
The decisive goal came in the 68th minute as São Tomé and Príncipe midfielder Diogo put the ball into his own net.
Two more COSAFA sides will be in action in the preliminary round on Friday when Comoros host Mauritius in their first leg tie at the Stade Said Mohamed Cheikh in Mitsamiouli.
The return fixture between the two will be played in Belle Vue Maurel on Tuesday.