Patson Daka’s powerful header rescued a late point for 10-man Zambia and denied Tanzania a first ever victory at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Leicester City forward Daka equalised from Clatous Chama’s inswinging corner to boost his side’s last-16 hopes.
Simon Msuva’s early opener almost gave Tanzania an upset in the first match of manager Adel Amrouche’s eight-game ban.
Zambia defender Rodrick Kabwe received a second booking after 44 minutes for an aerial challenge on Mbwana Samatta.
With Amrouche absent because of his punishment from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) over remarks he made about Morocco, Tanzania almost followed up their 3-0 defeat to the Atlas Lions by securing a first ever Afcon win in their eighth match at the finals across three appearances.
Interim head coach Hemed Suleiman Ali can guide them to the knockout stage for the first time in their history if they beat DR Congo and Zambia do not shock Morocco in the final round of matches in Group F on Wednesday (20:00 GMT), although a defeat would guarantee their elimination and a draw would be unlikely to extend their campaign.
Zambia, who drew 1-1 with the Leopards in their opener, also know victory over the World Cup semi-finalists would restore them to the round of 16 for the first time since their 2012 Afcon triumph.
A point could seal their progress without the need for being one of four best third-placed teams if the other game ends in a draw and they overhaul the number of goals scored by DR Congo.
Forward Msuva gave Tanzania the ideal start under Ali, capitalising after his side pinched possession midway inside their opponents’ half to fire in from Mbwana Samatta’s arrowed pass.
Kabwe, whose inviting cross was met wastefully by Kings Kangwa 10 minutes later, was dismissed after leaping to contest a high ball with Samatta, sending the striker to the turf by the technical areas.
Zambia manager Avram Grant’s close proximity allowed him to make his feelings clear to referee Djindo Louis Houngnandande, who booked the coach for his protestations and soon found himself the subject of appeals from Tanzania for a penalty.
Benedict Chepeshi ended Kibu Denis’ run by sending him sprawling to the floor but Houngnandande adjudged the foul to have occurred narrowly outside of the box with the help of his monitor.
Grant replaced defensive midfielder Kelvin Kapumbu with winger Lubambo Musonda for the second half, when Daka tested goalkeeper Aishi Manula and Tanzania defender Bakari Mwamnyeto was stretchered off injured with his country on course for a historic result.
The nation ranked 121st by Fifa were denied by Daka’s emphatically-taken goal, meeting Chama’s delivery with an elastic leap at the near post to thump his header over Manula.