MOSCOW: Full-back Alexei Berezutski fired last season's Russian Premier League runners-up CSKA Moscow to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Krasnodar on Saturday.
The result lifted the Red Army side into third, four points behind leaders Zenit St Petersburg, who take on Arsenal Tula on Sunday.
"It was a very tough match by two even teams," CSKA manager Viktor Gancharenko said.
"Both sides created plenty of scoring chances. We've converted one of them and that made the difference tonight."
Berezutski put CSKA into a 38th minute lead when his shot from the edge of the area ricocheted into the net off Krasnodar right back Roman Shishkin.
After the interval Krasnodar piled on the pressure seeking an equaliser but their poor finishing left the capacity 34,000 home crowd disappointed.
Elsewhere, promoted Dynamo Moscow confirmed their intention to stay in the Premier League next season with a 2-0 home win over SKA Khabarovsk, which ended the capital city club's six-match
Goals by Alexei Kozlov and Alexander Tashaev sealed the win at Khimki Arena to lift Dynamo into 13th and two points above the relegation zone.
"We've won today and that's the main thing about the match," Dynamo head coach Dmitry Khokhlov said. "We've been focusing on our defensive action and it paid off as we managed to keep a clean sheet."