With the opening ceremony of the EURO 2012 tournament over with, co-hosts Poland after making their fears public over the clash against Greece eventually ran off with a 1-1 scoreline against the Greeks in the first and opening match of the European championship.
Fortunately for Poland, Robert Lewandowski’s opener pushed the co-hosts up but was cancelled with Greece substitute Dimitris Salpingidis’s second half goal.
Poland had another opportunity to make 2-1 with a Giorgos Karagounis penalty but he missed it and forced the 2004 continental champions to settle for a draw.
Both sides faced blood from the referee as they ended the game with one red card each as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Wojciech Szczesny were dismissed at the National Stadium.
Poland started brightly, as Rafal Murawski’s shot forced a sharp save from goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias five minutes in.
Franciszek Smuda’s men continued to press and took the lead through Lewandowski in the 17th minute. The Borussia Dortmund striker headed home a telling right-wing cross from Jakub Blaszczykowski.
At the other end, Kostas Katsouranis looked dangerous in the final third but Poland’s defence held firm.
Greece then suffered a setback when Papastathopoulos received his second caution for a challenge on Murawski in the 45th minute.
Greece was the better outfit in the latter stages but was unable to make their dominance count.
The recession hit-nation, however, equalised six minutes in to the second period. Salpingidis, a replacement for Sotiris Ninis, netted from close range after keeper Szczesny failed to collect a right-wing cross by Vassilis Torosidis.
Szczesny’s night was to get worse, as the Arsenal man was sent off in the 69th minute for bringing down the lively Salpingidis in the Poland box.
Smuda immediately brought on Przemyslaw Tyton in place of Maciej Rybus, with the reserve stopper saving Karagounis’s penalty with his first touch of the game.
Soon after Salpingidis had an effort ruled out for offside following a cross by Kostas Fortounis.