An early goal from Ramūnas Radavičius was enough for Lithuanian titeholders FK Ekranas to defeat HJK Helsinki in the first instalment of the teams' UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie.
Ekranas initially coped better with the sodden conditions at the Aukštaitija Stadium, taking the lead when Radavičius finished off their first attack of the match on three minutes. HJK put concerted pressure on their hosts after the break, forcing Ekranas goalkeeper Vytautas Černiauskas into action on several occasions, but were unable to level ahead of next week's return in the Finnish capital.
Stifling heat gave way to heavy rain in the lead up to the match, though Radavičius was undeterred by conditions underfoot when he slotted the ball into the corner from 12 metres. HJK were initially slow to respond – their first meaningful effort, a Daniel Hoesen shot which went wide, did not arrive until three minutes before the break – but they were a different proposition after the interval.
Peter Magnusson had a close-range effort ruled out for offside after Černiauskas parried Dawda Bah's shot, while the Ekranas No1 thwarted the same player on 56 minutes with a fine fingertip save. Hoesen then volleyed wide as HJK began to peg their hosts back yet despite their best efforts, Antti Muurinen's team could find no way through a resolute Ekranas defence.