Former champions Lokomotiv Moscow claimed a fourth win in four matches this season to open a three-point lead at the top of the Russian Premier League with a hard-fought 1-0 win over promoted SKA Khabarovsk.
Midfielder Alexei Miranchuk steered the railway-backed side to victory although Zenit St Petersburg can close the gap with victory over reigning champions Spartak Moscow on Sunday.
Miranchuk hit the winning goal with a 25-yard free-kick in the 75th minute.
“The match was very difficult like we expected, but it was a deserved win,” said Lokomotiv manager Yury Semin.
Akhmat Grozny’s perfect start ended in a 3-2 defeat at Ufa who scored all their goals within the last 10 minutes.
Brazilian striker Leo Jaba put Akhmat 1-0 up three minutes into second half following a defensive blunder.
But Bojan Jokic, Pavel Alikin and Dmitry Sysuev all found the target within the space of six minutes in the closing stages for Ufa.
Akhmat’s Venezuelan defender Wilker Angel grabbed an injury time consolation.