The Black Stars of Ghana failed to count on home advantage despite the Baba Yara Stadium being filled to the raptors as they drew blanks against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the first leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup play off.
Ghana started on the front foot as they hurried the Nigerians but could not fashion out any clear cut chances despite several comer kicks that came their way.
Jordan Ayew was fouled by Ola Aina on the edge of the Nigeria box as Ghana were awarded a free kick but the Crystal Palace striker skied the ball aimlessly.
On the 19th minute AS Roma youngster Afena-Gyan turned and shot in the Nigeria box but his shot was blocked.
Nigerian nearly got the lead as Dennis Odoi appealed for a foul but it was waved away by the referee as Zaidu Sanusi had a free run on the left flank before crossing but Victor Osimhen failed to connect with his right boot as perhaps a diving header would have sufficed but the chance went abegging.
Jordan Ayew entered the Nigerian box and sent a nice cross across the face of goal but there was no Ghanaian to connect. Gideon Mensah sent a cross from the left flank but it took a wicked deflection and nearly landed in Uzoho’s goal but it went wide for a corner which Jordan Ayew wasted.
On the 30th minute, Victor Osimhen fell to the ground like a sack of potato as he tried to con the referee for a penalty after a clash with Kudus Mohammed but the referee waved away his appeals.
Osimhen failed to get up as medics had to come to his rescue as play halted temporarily on the half hour mark.
Ghana’s real chance came in the 32nd minute as Felix Afena-Gyan chested down a long punt for Kudus Mohammed who sent a rasping shot goal wards but Francis Uzoho tipped wide as the corner kick for the umpteenth time was wasted by Jordan Ayew.
The tie turned as Nigeria started to cause havoc in the Ghanaian defense as first Amartey headed clear a corner before Osimhen tamely touched a cross from the right flank into the arm of Ghana goalie Jojo Wolllacot.
The Nigerian were all over Ghana in the last nine minutes before the break as in the 39th minute Osimhen sent a shot goalwards but it struck a Ghanaian.
Osimhen protested for a penalty but the referee waved away the appeals.
Nigeria’s best chance fell to Joe Aribo as he ghosted through the left channel one on one with Wollacot but blazed his shot wide.
Afena Gyan was causing problems for Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun as the later cleared a ball from the youngster for a corner with came to nothing as usual.
Two minutes was added on as neither side could score a goal as the game ended 0-0 in the first half.
Ghana gifted Nigeria a clear sight at goal as there were caught in possession in the 54th minute as Moses Simon was cleanly put through from the left flank but Jojo Wollacot made himself big and saved his goal bound effort with his legs.
Emmanuel Dennis and Frank Onyeka came on for Kelechi Iheanacho and Joe Aribo but to little effect.
In the 70th minute Kudus Mohammed a fierce shot into the Nigerian goal but Uzoho saved as Amartey was within a whisker of connecting into an empty net from about three yards.
The referee whistled for a penalty in the 76th minute after Iddrisu Baba was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box after he was caught in possession.
VAR saved Ghana as Etebo wanted a penalty but Iheanacho’s foul on Iddrisu Baba was spotted after a VAR review.
Etebo was shown a yellow card for his wild protestation.
Jordan Ayew run into the Nigerian penalty box but tried to chip Uzoho when there where three Ghanaian players free in the box.
Osman Bukari run into the Nigerian penalty box but his cut back was beyond the reach of the Ghanaian players as Nigeria cleared.
Djiku saved Ghana as he cleared a fierce shot with his head in added on time as the game ended goalless.
Referee ended the game with neither side unable to score with all to play for on Tuesday at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.