Helenius heads AaB to victory over Rio Ave

Aalborg BK 1-0 Rio Ave FC
Nicklas Helenius's header right at the start of the second period earned the dominant home side the Group J spoils.

Rio Ave's Tiago Pinto vies with Frederik Børsting
Rio Ave's Tiago Pinto vies with Frederik Børsting ©AFP/Getty Images

Nicklas Helenius's header moments after the restart earns AaB the points
Anders Jacobsen squanders two excellent chances to double the lead
Rio Ave still searching for their first goal of the group stage
Check out our exclusive behind the scenes photos for this game
Next games: AaB v Dynamo Kyiv, Steaua v Rio Ave (23 October)

Nicklas Helenius's header at the start of the second period earned Aalborg BK their first three points of Group J as Rio Ave FC's tough introduction to the UEFA Europa League continued.

The home side dominated for much of the game but were never quite allowed to breathe easily, even after Helenius's strike. The second half was seconds old when the local hero – on loan from Aston Villa FC – rose at the far post to direct Donny Gorter's left-wing cross into the net.

Ander Jacobsen was millimetres away from making it 2-0 just after the hour, and in the closing stages Anders Jacobsen surged past goalkeeper Cássio when the keeper ran out of his penalty area, but contrived to fire just wide. Still, Rio Ave never really threatened to cancel out Helenius's effort.

It was a point proven by the Danish side, who had conceded ten goals without reply over their two previous European outings. They looked hungry from the off, pushing and probing for the breakthrough though time and again the final ball was lacking.

Incredibly considering their dominance, AaB almost fell behind on half-time as Diego Lopes delivered a free-kick from the edge of the box that was headed for the top-right corner before Carsten Christensen's fine intervention.