Soudani scored three of the six goals that took Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb into the UEFA Champions League group stage. He struck two more during the final six minutes of a Matchday 2 clash in Maseru after Lesotho had cancelled the Desert Foxes' lead.
Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam scored on the half hour at Setsoto Stadium and Ralekoti Mokhahlane levelled eight minutes later. But as Lesotho dreamt of holding a team ranked 109 places higher in the world, Soudani made his presence felt.
Ethiopia are second with four points followed by the Seychelles with one and pointless Lesotho. Only the 13 group winners are guaranteed places at the 2017 tournament in Gabon.
Zambia were another nation to win away as they came from behind in Kenya to triumph 2-1 thanks to a late first-half goal from veteran Collins Mbesuma. Michael Olunga put Kenya ahead in Nairobi by darting on to a long pass and winning a race for the ball with goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.
Winston Kalengo equalised with an unstoppable rising shot on the turn past goalkeeper Arnold Origi from inside the box. Mbesuma scored from even closer range, firing a low shot into the corner of the net for what proved the match-winner despite a second-half Kenyan onslaught.
Congo and Zambia have four points each in Group E with the Red Devils occupying first place on goal difference. Kenya and Guinea-Bissau have one each.
Minnows Swaziland remain Group L leaders, on goals scored from Zimbabwe, after coming from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Malawi in Lobamba. Gerald Phiri put Malawi ahead, Felix Badenhorst levelled and Chiukepo Msowoya regained the lead for the visitors before half-time. Sabele Ndzinisa snatched the second Swazi equaliser seven minutes into the second half at Somhlolo Stadium.
Zimbabwe also fought back to draw 1-1 against Guinea, who took a second-minute lead in Harare through Idrissa Sylla and Knowledge Musona equalised. Swaziland and Zimbabwe have four points each and Malawi and 2015 Cup of Nations quarter-finalists Guinea one apiece.
Mauritius celebrated a rare international victory thanks to Fabien Pithia, whose early second-half goal delivered a 1-0 success over Mozambique in Curepipe.
Ghana, runners-up to Côte d'Ivoire in the Cup of Nations final last February, are the Group H pacesetters with six points, Rwanda and Mauritius have three each and Mozambique none.
There were no goals and few chances in the Group B clash between Madagascar and Angola on a poor Antananarivo pitch.
Egypt with show of force, Sierra Leone hold Côte d'Ivoire
Egypt crushed Chad 5-1 while title-holders Côte d'Ivoire missed talisman Yaya Toure when held 0-0 by Sierra Leone. Cameroon won 1-0 in Gambia and the Central African Republic shocked Congo DR 2-0 in other Matchday 2 games. Libya fluffed two penalties when losing 2-1 to Cape Verde and Benin and Mali drew 1-1 in a west Africa showdown.
Emerging young star Bassem Morsi scored a hat-trick as Egypt replaced Nigeria as Group G leaders with a show of force in N'Djamena. Mohamed Salah and Kahraba, got the Pharaohs' other goals and Nadjim Haroun scored for Chad. Morsi struck twice during a first half that ended with the visitors leading 3-1 and completed his hat-trick with the last goal on 62 minutes.
Record seven-time African champions Egypt are chasing a place at the Cup of Nations in Gabon after failing to qualify for the past three tournaments. They have shown a clinical streak in qualifying under Argentina-born former Valencia manager Hector Cuper, trouncing Tanzania 3-0 three months ago in the opening round. Egypt have six points, three-time champions Nigeria four, Tanzania one and Chad are pointless with just the group winners guaranteed a finals spot.
Côte d'Ivoire made a disappointing start to their defence of a title won in Equatorial Guinea last February after a penalty shoot-out against Ghana. An Elephants team lacking unavailable Toure and injured striker Wilfried Bony struggled in heavy, wet Port Harcourt. A home fixture for Sierra Leone, it was switched to southern Nigeria because of the Ebola epidemic.
The match marked the debut of Michel Dussuyer as coach of the Ivorians after fellow Frenchman Herve Renard quit to join Ligue 1 outfit Lille. Sudan head Group I -- the only mini-league containing three nations -- with three points followed by Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone with one each.
Vincent Aboubakar was the Cameroon match-winner for the second matchday running with his mid-second half goal sufficient to beat Gambia in rain-drenched Banjul. Four-time African champions Cameroon top Group M with six points, Mauritania have three and Gambia and South Africa one a piece.
Central African Republic recovered from a Matchday 1 mauling in Angola three months ago to upset 2015 Cup of Nations bronze medalists Congo DR 2-0 in Bangui. Both goals came during the opening half with Vianney Mabide converting a penalty and Junior Gourrier doubling the advantage of the hosts. Angola are the Group B pacesetters with four points, Central African Republic and Congo DR have three each and Madagascar one.
Ryan Mendes scored in the final minute to grab a 2-1 victory for Cape Verde over Libya, who staged the home fixture in Cairo. Carlos da Graca put the island state ahead in the second half and Almaetasm Al Mosrati levelled four minutes from time. Libya failed to convert two penalties with Hamdo Al Masri and Mohamed Zubya the culprits.
Abdoulaye Diaby put Mali ahead in Cotonou and Jordan Adeoti equalised before half-time for Benin. Mali top Group C with four points followed by South Sudan (three), Benin (two) and 2015 Cup of Nations semi-finalists Equatorial Guinea (one). Matchday 3 fixtures are scheduled for next March.