Former Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg received a timely boost ahead of next week's UEFA Champions League play-off with a 3-0 win over Anzhi Makhachkala on Saturday.
The confidence-boosting success ahead of Tuesday's trip to Porto to take on Pacos Ferreira was achieved without the touchline presence of Zenit's Italian manager Luciano Spalletti and his assistant Igor Simutenkov.
The duo were sent off in Zenit's last league match for protesting the referee's decision to send off Hulk, a red card that was later overturned to allow the Brazilian striker to turn out against Anzhi.
Zenit were in command from the start against Anzhi, who sold Russia captain Igor Denisov, Yury Zhirkov and Alexander Kokorin to Dinamo Moscow this week after owner Suleiman Kerimov announced his decision to cut the club's budget.
Roman Shirokov put Zenit into a 25th-minute lead when he sent the ball into the net past Anzhi 'keeper Mikhail Kerzhakov after beating the guests defence on a breakaway.
Hulk had Zenit supporters on their feet in the 43rd minute beating Kerzhakov with a precise unopposed 25-metre screamer to make it 2-0 for the hosts.
Argentinian wingback Christian Ansaldi, who joined Zenit last week from Rubin Kazan, rounded off the scoring in the 72nd minute firing the ball home with a low shot from just inside the area.
"The match went exactly like we expected," Shirokov said. "Our manager told us to play quickly in the wings or with a one-two combination in the centre."
"The arrival of Ansaldi strengthened our attacking potential even though he's a defender. The absence of our coaches on the sidelines I've noticed in the break on my way to the dressing room. It didn't affect our playing tonight at all."
Lokomotiv edge Terek Grozny, Yekaterinburg and Amkar draw
Elsewhere Lokomotiv Moscow registered a 1-0 win over Terek Grozny courtesy of Russia international midfielder Alexander Samedov's injury-time winner to move with Zenit up to ten points.
That put them level with Spartak Moscow and Rostov, who can reinstate their three-point advantage over the next 48 hours.
Spartak play Rubin Kazan on Sunday with Rostov in action against Volga Nizhny Novgorod on Monday.
In Saturday's early match league, rookies Ural Yekaterinburg and Amkar Perm recorded a goalless draw.