The 10-man Black Stars of Ghana could manage just a point against the Nile Crocodiles of Sudan at their Baba Yara Stadium fortress in Kumasi in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers on Sunday.
Black Stars hit man Asamoah Gyan received his marching orders from South African referee Jerome Damon 10 minutes before the end of regulation time, but the Sudanese kept marking their attacking opponents to pick up their first point on Ghana’s soil.
The World Cup quarter-finalists failed to live up to expectations at their citadel that was filled to capacity. The game saw few chances being created. Not even an indirect free-kick awarded to Ghana during injury time could change their fate as the entire Sudanese team packed themselves into the goal post to block substitute Agyemang Badu’s low kick.
The Sudanese were tactically disciplined throughout the game making it difficult for a more experienced Ghana side to produce enough goal scoring chances.
Ghana had a crucial free-kick just at the edge of the 18-yard box in the 32nd minutes when playmaker Kwadwo Asamoah was brought down by a Sudanese defender, but the Udinese midfielder sliced the ball too high over the post.
Three minutes later Gyan missed narrowly to put the four-time African champions in the lead. His low drive was too powerful to reach the back of the net of the Sudanese post.
Sudanese forward Mohammed Osman would have carried the day for his side during the dying minutes of the first half but goalkeeper Richard Kingson, who was recording his 85th appearance for Ghana was on alert to shield the danger.
Ghana came into the game three minutes after the interval with two free-kicks awarded by referee Jerome, but they failed to threaten their opponents' goal.
Sunderland striker Gyan tore the Sudanese defence apart in the 76th minute but a Sudanese defender was right on the spot of the goal line to prevent the ball from entering the net after his goalkeeper El Moiz Abdalla had been beaten.
Referee Jerome was forced to brandish his red card again on a Sudanese official who walked onto the pitch to protest an incident on his goalkeeper Abdalla when the game was drawing to a close. Ghana so far has four points in Group I.