Two-time former champions Lokomotiv Moscow went top of the Russian Premiership after a 3-1 win at Kuban Krasnodar under heavy rain.
Lokomotiv moved two points clear of second-placed Zenit St. Petersburg -- held 1-1 at Terek Grozny the day before -- with just one match remaining before the winter break.
Spartak Moscow, who beat Novgorod 6-1 on Sunday, are third, a point further back.
Lokomotiv got off to a flying start, taking the lead in the fifth minute through Brazilian forward Maicon Bitencourt, who fired home from just inside the area following a breakaway.
In the 18th minute Croatian full back Vedran Corluka made it 2-0 for the visitors with a ten-metre header from Alexander Samedov's well-placed free-kick.
Moroccan midfielder Moubarak Boussoufa made it 3-0 for Lokomotiv just after the half-hour mark after a mix-up in the hosts' defence.
Djibril Cisse netted a late consolation goal in the second minute of injury time for Kuban.
"Today we played confidently under heavy weather conditions," Lokomotiv manager Leonid Kuchuk said.
"We started well, taking a commanding lead inside half an hour. Of course it's pleasant to be on top but it's too early to make any conclusions as there are plenty of tough matches ahead."
Meanwhile, reigning champions CSKA Moscow failed to break into the top three as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Rostov.
"We failed to recover after Wednesday's Champions League match with Bayern (Munich) and looked a bit tired tonight," CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky admitted.
"We could have won the match but could have lost it as well. In general I'd say the draw looks a logical result for this encounter."