Tyton happy in hero role

Poland reserve keeper salvages point for co-hosts

Przemyslaw Tyton: The substitute saved Giorgos Karagounis' penalty to salvage a point for Poland

Przemyslaw Tyton was the happiest man in Warsaw after being the unexpected goalkeeping hero following Poland's 1-1 draw with Greece.

It was a party atmosphere when Euro 2012 got underway in the Polish capital on Friday but the occasion was threatening to turn sour for the co-hosts when Wojciech Szczesny was sent off.

Giorgos Karagounis had the chance to put Greece 2-1 up but Tyton produced the dramatic save with his first touch to help ensure Poland would have a share of the points.

The PSV Eindhoven keeper could hardly have expected to be centre stage having only been installed as second choice to wear the gloves when Lukasz Fabianski injured his shoulder last month.

"I didn't expect that things would turn out this way and that I'd get a shot to play in the first game," said the 25-year-old.

"I stepped onto the pitch and thought 'cool, this is my time to help out the team'. And I'm happy that I could bring some joy to the crowd in the stadium and the people watching at home."

Tyton's save was also a relief for the man he replaced. Arsenal No.1 Szczesny looked set to be the villain, having also made an error for Greece's equaliser, but his understudy saved the day. Something for which he was grateful.

"I watched the penalty in the tunnel," said Szczesny. "I was happy Przemyslaw defended it. It took some of the weight off of me."


Friday's appearance was just Tyton's sixth for the national team, and it could not have come at a bigger moment.

Poland had outplayed the Greeks for the first half, then surrendered a goal despite being a man up.

Falling behind 2-1 would have decimated an already tiring Poland side desperate not to disappoint the 55,000 fans who had packed Warsaw's new National Stadium.

"First when I saw that it was a penalty I just thought, '(damn), it's a penalty.' Only later did I think about the red card," Tyton said. "Then I got up on my own and just started lacing up my boots."

After getting both hands on Karagounis' penalty to push it past the right post, Tyton pointed to the Poland bench while the crowd chanted "Przemek! Przemek!"

Tyton could have been forgiven for expecting to sit the tournament out on the bench but he enjoyed the adulation.

"It was nice that they recognised me," he said. "I'm particularly happy because my whole family was at the match and for the first time my mom saw me play live."

With Szczesny now unavailable for Poland's second match against Russia because of the red card, Tyton will have another chance to impress on Tuesday.