Second-placed CSKA Moscow failed to narrow the gap behind Russian league leaders Zenit St Petersburg as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of city rivals Lokomotiv today.
Forwards Roman Pavlyuchenko and Felipe Caicedo scored one apiece to keep Lokomotiv in third place, just one point behind CSKA. Zenit, who take on Rubin Kazan tomorrow, top the table on 70 points.
"We expected a tough opposition in this match and were ready for it," Lokomotiv manager Jose Couceiro said. "We wanted to start aggressively and score early and luckily we managed to do everything our way. In the second half we looked less impressive as we haven't yet recovered completely after the Russian cup match in midweek."
Lokomotiv got off to a lively start, clinching the lead in the tenth minute through recent signing Pavlyuchenko, who picked the ball in the centre of the pitch and ran with it to the edge of the CSKA box before firing home.
CSKA replied positively, though, and began to test Lokomotiv, keeping goalkeeper Guilherme busy. But it was Lokomotiv's Equadorian forward Caicedo who increased his team's lead on the counter, scoring in the 33rd minute from the edge of the six-yard box after Pavlyuchenko's short left-handed cross.
After the interval, CSKA put more pressure on their opponents, but Lokomotiv sat comfortably on their advantage and had little trouble keeping their lead. "We tried to play aggressively in attack from the start but experienced too many problems in the midfield," CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky admitted afterwards.
"We conceded an early goal, which forced us to make changes in our tactics. Unfortunately we failed to find the right way to save the day."