Reigning champions CSKA Moscow thrashed city rivals Lokomotiv 4-0 on Wednesday to cut the gap to Russian Premier League leaders Spartak Moscow to seven points.
Russian internationals Alan Dzagoev and Alexander Golovin, Brazilian Vitinho and Israeli Bibars Natcho scored to set CSKA on their way to a well-deserved win.
CSKA play Spartak on Sunday in what looks like a title-decider.
Zenit St Petersburg defeated Orenburg 1-0 away and are third, one point further back.
CSKA started in lively fashion and in the 11th minute Dzagoev received a pinpoint pass by Vitinho in the area and sent the ball home with a low angled shot.
Vitinho and Golovin then added one apiece in the space of six minutes to give CSKA a commanding 3-0 lead at half time.
Seven minutes after the interval CSKA right winger Mario Fernandes found the unmarked Natcho in the area and he kept his cool to fire into the corner.
“It’s a rare occasion when I’m happy with the result and our performance both in defence and in attack,” CSKA head coach Viktor Gancharenko said.
Orenburg squandered a couple of clear-cut chances in the first half before Giuliano put Zenit into the lead with a precise spotkick in the 17th minute after Yury Zhirkov was chopped down in the area.
After the interval the home side surged forward seeking an equaliser but were thwarted by Zenit ‘keeper Andrei Lunev on several occasions.
“We won deservedly,” St Petersburg manager Mircea Lucescu said. “But I’m pleased with the result much more than with our play today.
“We’ve got three points that are very important for us as we’re still in the race for a place in next season’s Champions League.”