(CNN) -- Malawi stunned Algeria 3-0 at a near-deserted November 11 stadium in Luanda as the unpredictable start to the African Nations Cup continued.
Algeria began the Group A match as clear favorites, but were 2-0 down by half-time thanks to goals from Russel Mwafulirwa and Elvis Kafoteka. Dave Banda added a third after 49 minutes to end any thoughts of an Algeria comeback.
Sunday's 4-4 draw between hosts Angola and Mali did not appear to have captured the public's imagination as the players kicked off in front of rows and rows of empty seats.
An early angled strike from Abdelkader Ghezzal was saved by Malawi goalkeeper Swadick Sanudi after five minutes. Ghezzal had another chance moments later but could not find the target.
After eight minutes, Russel found a yard in the Algeria box but headed wide under pressure from Madjid Bougherra.
Malawi surprised their opponents in the 17th minute when they took the lead in somewhat fortuitous fashion.
Algeria goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi attempted to clear a long ball but only succeeded in smashing the ball straight into the advancing Essau Kanyenda. The ball broke to Russel, who hammered home.
Rafik Saifi had a great chance to level after 24 minutes when he was played through by Karim Ziani's ball over the top but he sent a lobbed effort over the bar.
And 10 minutes before the break it was 2-0 as Kafoteka rose highest to head home Hellings Mwakasungula's cross following a short corner.
Algeria's day got even worse four minutes after the break. Chaouchi flapped at a cross and the ball fell to Russel. His shot hit the post and an attempted clearance from Bougherra broke to Banda, who finally smashed the ball home.
Meanwhile, in the day's other match, tournament favourites Ivory Coast were held to a 0-0 draw by a stubborn Burkina Faso in their opening Group B match at the Estadio do Cabinda.
Vahid Halilhodzic's team dominated possession but could not find the cutting edge to break down a determined Burkinabe defence despite a frontline of Didier Drogba, Bakari Kone and Gervinho.
Chelsea striker Drogba had an early shout for a penalty after a sliding challenge from Paul Koulibaly, but the appeals were rejected.
Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue looked to be caught in the area by Mamadou Tall after 20 minutes but again the referee was unmoved.
Eboue then burst through down the right only to fire across goal and Siaka Tiene blasted over from a tight angle following Drogba's cross from the right.
Chelsea's Salomon Kalou and Portsmouth's Aruna Dindane were introduced off the bench by Ivory Coast in the second half.
Drogba was cynically brought down by Mohamed Koffi on the edge of the box 17 minutes from time but the free-kick came to nothing.
The Chelsea frontman did test Diakite in the 85th minute but the Burkinabe goalkeeper was equal to his snap-shot from a tight angle as the Ivorians' frustration continued.