Ghana failed to make their superiority count as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Uganda in 2018 World Cup qualifying on Friday.
Avram Grant’s side enjoyed the majority of possession and the clearest chances in Tamale but could not find a way to beat Denis Onyango in the visiting goal.
Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey and Jordan Ayew of Aston Villa missed the best opportunities for the home side, who found it difficult to break through a solid Uganda rearguard on a dreadful playing surface.
The result means that Congo or Egypt could go top of Group E should either side claim a win in Sunday’s encounter in Brazzaville.
Chances were scarce in a cagey first half at Tamale Sports Stadium, though it was Ghana who looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
Ayew volleyed Harrison Afful’s cross wide of the post when in acres of space in the penalty area, and Christian Atsu dragged a shot past the post after a promising run from the right.
Asamoah Gyan’s wicked free-kick was well held by Onyango in the Uganda goal just after the break, but Ghana were dealt a blow when Afriyie Acquah was carried off on a stretcher in obvious discomfort.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu tested Onyango from distance, before the Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper produced his finest save of the match, leaping high to claw Amartey’s header away from the top corner.
Ghana, backed by some noisy home support, continued to push for a winner but were ultimately left frustrated, meaning a good result against Egypt in November could be key to their hopes of qualifying for the finals in Russia.