Two-time former champions Lokomotiv Moscow maintained their lead in the Russian Premiership with a confident 3-0 win over visiting Ural Yekaterinburg. The railway-backed side moved on to 47 points from 22 matches, six points clear of Zenit St. Petersburg who face Samara on Monday.
Another Moscow side Spartak, thrashed 4-0 by FC Krasnodar in their first match under caretaker coach Dmitry Gunko, sit third on 40 points.
Lokomotiv dominated from the start, missing a couple of clear chances before Ural defender Alexander Belozerov sent the ball into his own net with a 22-metre header in an attempt to clear midfielder Alexander Samedov's cross.
Senegalese forward Dame N'Doye made it 2-0 for Lokomotiv with his 12th goal of the season just a minute later, firing the ball into the net from seven metres out past helpless Ural 'keeper Nikolai Zabolotny. Lokomotiv's second half substitute midfielder Sergei Tkachev rounded off the scoring with 14 minutes to go when he slotted home a ricochet from close range.
"I'm grateful to my players for their excellent performance today," Lokomotiv manager Leonid Kuchuk said. "We looked in command in the first half and scored twice for a deserved lead. After the break Ural gave us a series of troubles but we acted well in defence waiting for our chance and finally scored the third goal. We won deservedly today but there're still eight more matches ahead so we need to stay concentrated to keep our chances for the title alive."
Meanwhile, FC Krasnodar got off to a flying start against nine-time champions Spartak scoring in the fourth minute through Brazilian striker Ari, who converted Artur Jedrzejczyk's right-handed cross.
Ari, a former Spartak man playing his 100th match in the Russian Premiership, made it 2-0 for the hosts sending the ball into an unguarded net from 17 metres after Spartak 'keeper Artem Rebrov's mistake.
Another Braziilan, Wanderson, scored the hosts' third goal with a low 19-metre shot, while five minutes after the interval Ari completed his hat-trick lobbing the ball into the net over Rebrov after beating Spartak's defence on a breakaway.
"We drew the correct conclusions from our previous matches," FC Krasnodar head coach Oleg Konnov said. "We prepared well for this match and looked the better side tonight. I hope we will manage to keep our winning spirit for the next match, the derby with Kuban."