CSKA Moscow take top slot
© AFP

Russia's three-time champions CSKA Moscow went top of the Russian Premier League table with a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Zenit St. Petersburg. The result lifted the Red Army to 19 points from nine matches, one point ahead of defending champions Kazan. Samara and FC Moscow share third place both on 16 points.

CSKA dominated play at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium from the start, testing out a tough Zenit defence directed by Russian international goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev. In the 32nd minute CSKA's Niger midfielder Moussa Maazou put the hosts in front scoring from the edge of the six-yard box from Yury Zhirkov's left wing cross.

After the interval Zenit upped the tempo and levelled in the 54th minute through Igor Semshov, who shot home from ten metres out with CSKA goalie Igor Akinfeyev well beaten. But the Red Army side managed to score the winner through Brazilian marksman Vagner Love, who beat Malafeyev with a penalty with five minutes to go after Zenit skipper Anatoly Tymoshchuk was judged to have handled the ball.

Ivanov propels Samara
Meanwhile, Samara lifted themselves into third following a 1-0 home win over Krasnodar. Midfielder Oleg Ivanov was the hero of the match scoring the winning goal from the edge of the box seven minutes after the break.

Reigning champions Kazan failed to extend their winning streak in the league, recording a 2-2 draw at Perm. Roman Adamov put Kazan 1-0 up 20 minutes into the match when he sent the ball home from close range. The hosts replied positively and levelled just seven minutes later through Brazilian striker Jean Carlos, who fired in from just inside the box after a piece of good individual work.

Bulgarian forward Martin Kushev put the hosts into the lead 2-1 four minutes before the break with a precise spotkick, after Kazan fouled substitute striker Sergei Volkov in their box. But Kazan skipper Sergei Semak saved the day for his side as he levelled the scores from close range in the fourth minute of injury time.