The win gives the Walyas their first three points of the campaign, although they still have it all to do to catch joint leaders Morocco and Rwanda, who put their 100% record on the line when they go head-to-head on 14 June in Kigali.
The 40,000 crowd at the Olympic stadium in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott witnessed a fiercely fought game between two sides desperate to get their first points on the board. In the end, however, a late lapse in concentration by the locals allowed Ethiopia to steal all three points with a Said Salahddine strike two minutes into added time.
Despite moving into third place in the group, the Walyas still have a negative goal difference of -3. However, it is marginally better than that of the hapless Mauritanians (-7), who remain rooted to the foot of the table with three defeats from three games.