Ethiopia and visitors Kenya played out a 0-0 draw in Group F of qualifying for next year’s finals.
The Harambee Stars thought they had scored five minutes before half-time but the goal from striker Michael Olunga, who plays in Japan, was ruled out for for a foul.
Kenya’s coach Sebastien Migne said it was a “fair result.”
“We had missed some opportunities in the first half. After the resumption it was a bit difficult for us.
“All in all it is a fair result. The return leg in Kasarani is now like a final tie,” Migne told reporters.
His Ethiopia counterpart, Abraham Mebratu, was happy with the performance of his side.
“I am content with the fighting spirit of my boys. I can see that we have got a good game.
“We deserve to get more than a draw as we dominated our opponents. The second leg is now a make or break situation for us,” Mebratu said.
The neighbours are set to face each other again on Sunday in Nairobi.
Both teams now have four points from their three matches so far.
Read more at: BBC Sport