Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg, CSKA and Dynamo of Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala share the lead in the Russian Premier League after this weekend's round of matches left them sitting on 19 points.
CSKA, who still have a game in hand, failed to overcame Kuban Krasnodar with a 1-1 draw at home. CSKA and Kuban both had chances to go top of the table with a win. They were battling from the start, but failed to break the deadlock.
In the 67th minute CSKA's Czech striker Tomas Necid, who had just come on for Pavel Mamaev, put his side into the lead converting fellow Ivory Coast team-mate Seidou Doumbia's pass. CSKA failed to keep their lead, though, as Kuban half-time substitute Sergei Davydov pulled the score level with ten minutes remaining redirecting Ilya Maximov's sharp pass into the net with his heel.
Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg ended their four-match winless streak with a convincing 3-0 home win over Russia's most decorated side Spartak Moscow. After a dull opening half-hour the hosts took the lead in the 36th minute through Serbian forward Danko Lazovic, who scored with a precise spot-kick after he had been fouled in the box.
Zenit, spurred by the local capacity crowd, poured into attack and increased their lead through Russian forward Alexander Kerzhaskov, who scored in the 66th minute off a Danny pass. Kerzhakov netted his second with five minutes to go, lobbing the ball into the net over Spartak goalkeeper Nikolai Zabolotny to secure Zenit a well-deserved win.
"I'm satisfied both with the result and my team's showing today," Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti said. "We were in complete control from the start to the very end of the match. We managed to overcome the pressure related with this match and won deservedly."
Anzhi Makhachkala also moved onto 19 points following yesterday's unexpected 2-1 win over Lokomotiv in Moscow. Defender Rasim Tagirbekov and Dutch midifelder Mubarak Boussoufa gave Anzhi a comfortable 2-0 lead scoring one apiece in the second half.
Lokomotiv's Russian striker Dmitry Sychev scored a consolation goal in injury time, but failed to save the day for his side. Meanwhile, Dynamo beat FC Krasnodar 1-0 with a goal by Fedor Smolov ten minutes from the end.