Newly-promoted Volga from Nizhny Novgorod unexpectedly jumped into the lead in the Russian Premier League with a 3-1 win at Rostov, while reigning champions Zenit were held to a 1-1 draw by CSKA Moscow. Volga made it nine points from four matches to sit one point ahead of Zenit and another promoted side FC Krasnodar, who share second spot.
Zenit dominated in the opening half hour, but it was CSKA who took the lead in the 32nd minute on the counter-attack through Chilean midfielder Marc Gonzalez, who fired in from ten metres off a Zoran Tosic pass.
The hosts replied positively, adding power to their attack and pulled level in first half injury time, when Konstantin Zyryanov sent the ball home with an unopposed shot from Alexander Kerzhakov's right-handed cross.
After the interval Zenit looked fresher and more aggressive and created a set of scoring chances, but CSKA defended well, effectively dashing all of the hosts attempts to secure the win.
"I'm satisfied with my team's performance today though we failed to win," said Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti. "We created plenty of chances like we did in all our recent matches, but missed too many opportunities again."
Meanwhile, the league's rookie side Volga Nizhny Novgorod looked confident in Rostov notching their third win to take top. Volga clinched the lead just before the break through their midfielder Gocha Khodzhava, who beat Rostov goalkeeper Dejan Radic with a powerful 18-metre shot.
Volga striker Anton Khazov and halfback Sanzhar Tursunov added one apiece after the interval to make it 3-0 before Nigerian defender Isaac Okoronkwo scored a late consolation for the hosts with ten minutes remaining.
Two-time champions Rubin Kazan missed their chance to stay in the leading group after they were held to a goalless draw by the visitors Spartak Nalchik in one of the dullest season's matches so far.