Konstantin Zyryanov hit a 69th-minute rocket and set up a second to give champions Zenit St. Petersburg a 2-0 win at FC Krasnodar in the Russian Premier Football League.
Zyryanov picked dribbled through a group of defenders to find the net from the edge of the box, and then fed Viktor Faizulin to slide home and seal the points ten minutes from time.
Zenit were under pressure for much of the game, clearly lacking the defensive midfield qualities of Igor Denisov, who remains a cast out after a wage dispute with the club's officials.
But Luciano Spalletti's side grinded out a tough win when it mattered, a first victory in four matches lifting them to third on 21 points.
Earlier in the day, Keisuke Honda engineered a 2-0 win for CSKA Moscow over Spartak in the capital derby; Amkar Perm shocked Rubin with a 1-0 win in Kazan; and Anzhi Makhachkala maintained their lead with a 2-0 victory at beleaguered Dynamo Moscow.