TAMALE, Ghana Uganda picked up a surprise away point as Ghana, who have been to the last three World Cup finals, were held at home in a goalless draw in the opening African zone Group E qualifier on Friday. Just a month after Uganda ended a 38-year wait to qualify for the African Nations Cup final, they continued their revival by drawing away against the favourites at the start of the group phase of the qualifiers for Russia 2018.
Uganda had to weather a second half assault before Ghana ran out of energy in hot conditions, missing several chances as the won countless corners and freekicks but failed to make use of them.
Uganda started with confidence and might have had the opener on 20 minutes when Khalid Aucho missed out on a square pass from Farouk Miya on the right wing.
But after the two teams broke on the half hour mark for a brief cooling break, Ghana emerged much more attacking flair and should have been ahead three minutes later when Jordan Ayew was unmarked at the back post but missed his shot from just yards out.
A snap effort from captain Asamoah Gyan in the 42nd minute was also off target, as was Christian Atsu’s hard strike just before the break.
Gyan, who has played into last three World Cup finals, went wide twice in the second half and Ayew was guilty of dribbling too much when he had chances to shoot.
The other two teams in the group play on Sunday when Congo host Egypt.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Johannesburg)