MOSCOW: Zenit St Petersburg went three points clear in the Russian Premier League on Sunday with a 4-0 rout of 10-man Akhmat Grozny.
Goals by Leandro Paredes, Alexander Kokorin, Daler Kuzyaev and Yury Zhirkov steered Zenit to a confidence-boosting victory ahead of next week's Europa League play-off clash with Dutch side Utrecht.
"I'm really pleased with my team's performance in attack," said Zenit coach Roberto Mancini.
"But after some players left our team, and a set of new players joined, our line-up is not yet completely stable. The team is still undergoing transformation."
Zenit, spurred on by 40,000 fans, were ahead after 28 minutes when Paredes fired the ball in from 25 yards.
Akhmat, who had won their last three meetings with Zenit, suffered another setback just a minute later when skipper Rizvan Utsiev was sent off for a second bookable offence.
After the interval, Kokorin, Kuzyaev and late substitute Zhirkov completed the rout.
Lokomotiv Moscow, who had the same number of points as Zenit ahead of this weekend's round of matches, suffered an unexpected 2-0 home defeat to promoted Tosno.
Tosno back Yevgeny Chernov put his side into the lead in the 51st minute with a shot from just outside the area while striker Anton Zabolotny added the second in the fifth minute of injury time.