WARSAW - Greece missed their chance, and the penalty kick that went with it, in a tournament-opening 1-1 draw with co-host Poland at the European Championship yesterday.
Shortly after substitute Dimitris Salpigidis had equalised for 10-man Greece by knocking in a loose ball in the 51st minute, the diminutive striker was taken down by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the area.
Szczesny was given a red card, and captain Giorgos Karagounis was given the chance to again earn Greece an opening match win against the host nation at a European Championship.
Eight years ago, Karagounis scored in the opening 2-1 win over Euro 2004 host Portugal.
His shot, however, was saved by replacement goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, whose first touch of the ball salvaged a point for the co-hosts in Group A.
Were not happy because in the end we could have won it, Salpigidis said.
We were left with 10 men but we came back strong.
Salpigidis came on at halftime, a gamble for Greece coach Fernando Santos to leave three attackers on the field after the loss of both central defenders in the first half - Sokratis Papastathopoulos to a red card after a pair of yellows, and Avraam Papadopoulos to injury.
But Salpigidis didnt disappoint.
Greece midfielder Vassilis Torosidis, who dropped back into central defence after the ejection of Papastathopoulos, crossed the ball into the center for Fanis Gekas.
Gekas and Poland defender Marcin Wasilewski collided and Szczesny jumped for the ball, but failed to clear it.