CSKA, Spartak make winning starts
Three-time Russian champions CSKA Moscow made a winning start to the new Russian Premier League season beating visitors Rostov 1-0 on Saturday.
CSKA looked confident in the first half, keeping Rostov goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa on his toes under the watchful gaze of Russia's new national manager Fabio Capello, but failed to break the deadlock before the break.
Ivorian forward Seydou Doumbia, who topped the league's scoring charts last season, netted the winner in the 54th minute, firing home from eight metres from his Latvian team-mate Aleksander Cauna's precise left-wing cross.
"We should have won more convincingly as we were in complete control of the play today," said CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky. "The season's first match is traditionally hard, but I'm pleased both with the result and our performance as we created a set of chances giving our rivals almost no chance to save the day."
Meanwhile, Russia's most decorated club Spartak Moscow, who are seeking their tenth domestic title this season, also grabbed an opening round win beating Alania 2-1 in Vladikavkaz.
Spartak got off to a flying start through their Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike, who fired home from close range from Artem Dzyuba's pass into the area when the match was just ten seconds old.
The hosts replied positively, pinning Spartak back and pulled level 13 minutes later through midfielder Arsen Khubulov, who fired a rebound into the net after a corner. However, Spartak managed to score the winning goal with just four minutes to go when Alania defender Anton Grigoriev sent the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear Pavel Yakovlev's cross.
Another Moscow side, Dynamo, suffered a 1-0 away defeat at the hands of ten-man Volga Nizhny Novgorod. The hosts' Ilya Maximov was sent off for a tackle just five minutes after the interval.
Dynamo dominated the play completely in the second half and created a set of clear chances, but missed them all, while Volga midfielder Alexander Shulenin was the hero of the match scoring the only goal in the 69th minute after a mix-up in the Dynamo defence.