Danish champions AaB are up and running in Europe Leaue Group J after securing a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Portuguese Cup runners-up Rio Ave.
After a goalless first half at the Nordjyske Arena, AaB top scorer Nicklas Helenius nodded his side in front from close range almost immediately after the break.
The win sees AaB move up to third in the group while Europa League debutants Rio Ave are still waiting for their first point.
Keen to make amends for their record 6-0 defeat to Steaua Bucharest two weeks ago, the Danes started brightly but squandered a number of early chances.
They were almost punished on the half-hour mark when Rio Ave top scorer Diego Lopes drilled in a free-kick from 20 yards which Carsten Christensen tipped around the post.
The AaB keeper was standing in for suspended first-choice stopper Nicolai Larsen who was sent off against Steaua.
Helenius caught the visitors by surprise only a minute into the second half, rising to head home Donny Gorter's pinpoint cross. It was the Denmark international's fourth goal since returning to AaB on loan from Aston Villa in July.
Rio Ave embarked on a search for an equaliser and Ahmed Koka almost levelled from the bench, blasting wide from outside the box two minutes after replacing Pedro Moreira.
The visitors maintained the pressure and Ricardo Tarantini made a vain appeal for a penalty in stoppage time as AaB clung on to all three points.