Two-time Russian champions Rubin Kazan warmed-up for Thursday's UEFA Europa League clash against Chelsea with a 2-0 victory over Lokomotiv Moscow today.
The result lifted Rubin into fourth position in the table with 38 points from 22 matches, three behind reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg. CSKA Moscow, who play second-place Alania at Vladikavkaz on Monday, lead the way with 49 points.
Rubin took a 40th-minute lead when Israeli midfielder Bebars Natcho fired home a rebound after Christian Ansaldi's 20-metre freekick came back off the Lokomotiv wall. Valdimir Dyadyun added his side's second goal in the 87th minute when he picked the ball up in the centre of the pitch before going on to score from 10 metres.
"It was really hard to play on the uneven pitch," Dyadyun said. "The physical form was the key factor in this match. We played compactly in defence and were more precise in passing in our attacks. I think we won deservedly as we were the better side."
Dynamo Moscow, who started the season with five consecutive defeats, recorded their 12th win under their Romanian coach Dan Petrescu with a 1-0 win over Rostov to take fifth place. German striker Kevin Kuranyi grabbed the only goal in the 27th minute with his seventh goal of the season, sending the ball into the back of the net with a header from a corner by Hungarian teammate Balazs Dzsudzsak.
In Saturday's other match, Saransk, who hired Romanian manager Dorinel Munteanu in the winter break, recorded their second win in three matches beating fellow strugglers Samara 2-0. Forwards Daniel Oprita and Ruslan Mukhametshin scored one apiece to notch Saransk's fourth win this season, but the club are still second from bottom.