Uganda put in a superb rearguard action to hold Ghana to a goalless draw at Tamale Stadium on Friday in the opening Group E qualifier for the 2018 World Cup.
The Cranes, led by an impeccable performance from goalkeeper Denis Onyango, were able to handle anything the Black Stars threw at them and will be delighted with having secured a vital away point.
Uganda enjoyed the better of the match in the early minutes, with the East Africans using their pace and power to impose themselves early on.
However, after a water break taken on the half hour mark, Ghana suddenly shifted up a couple of gears and looked much more potent in attack.
They immediately created a good chance when Harrison Afful crossed from the right for Jordan Ayew, but the Aston Villa striker hit his volley wide of the target.
The Black Stars had further efforts at goal through veteran striker Asamoah Gyan and Christian Atsu, but neither was a bother for Onyango, leaving the game goalless at the half time break.
Controversy erupted just before the hour mark when Uganda’s Wadada was cautioned for the second time by referee El Fadil Mohamed, yet not shown a red card. That Uganda substituted the player just a few minutes later was an admission of guilt.
From then on it was almost one-way traffic, with Uganda forced into sitting deep in defence to hold Ghana at bay.
The hosts almost broke the deadlock on 66 minutes when Daniel Amartey headed on goal from a corner kick, but Onyango make an excellent save to tip the ball over the crossbar.
That was as close to a goal as the match produced, even though Ghana continued to rain in shots in the final quarter of the match.
Ghana: Razak Braimah, Harrison Afful, Baba Rahman, John Boye, Daniel Amartey, Afriyie Acquah (Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu 57’), Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Atsu (Majeed Waris 82’), Frank Acheampong (Jeffrey Schlupp 78’), Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan
Uganda: Denis Onyango, Joseph Ochaya, Isaac Isinde, Murushid Juuko, Nicholas Wadada (Hassan Wasswa 62’), Farouk Miya, Khalid Aucho, Tony Mawejje (Geoffrey Massa 59’), Dennis Iguma, Moses Oloya (Godfrey Walusimbi 75’), Kizito Luwagga