NAIROBI: Kenya moved to the top of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying Group F despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Ethiopia in Bahir Dir on Wednesday.
With early leaders Ghana out of action after opponents Sierra Leone remained suspended by FIFA over government interference, it was left to both teams to seize the opportunity to consolidate their positions.
Japan-based striker Michael Olunga had the best chance to put Kenya ahead in the 19th minute when he latched on to an Erick Johanna pass but his left-footed shot was cleared from the line after Ethiopian goalkeeper Samson Assefa was beaten.
Getaneh Kebede squandered an open opportunity for the home side on the half-hour as the Ethiopian attacker saw his long-range effort hit the post.
Kenya substitutes Paul Were and Eric Ouma brought some fresh legs, and their combination up front twice came close to breaking the deadlock.
Ethiopian dangerman Shimelis Kebede was also left ruing a golden chance when he hit the post in the 68th minute.
The result meant Kenya moved top on four points due to a superior goal difference over Ethiopia, who occupy second spot.
Both teams meet again in the return match in Nairobi on Sunday.