Moscow: Zenit St Petersburg opened an eight-point lead in the Russian Premier League with a 1-0 home win over Kuban Krasnodar on Saturday.
A goal by Brazilian Hulk set Zenit on their way to an 11th win this season as they stretched their advantage at the top after FC Krasnodar moved into second spot with a 2-1 win over defending champions CSKA.
Hulk scored in the 37th minute from a free-kick as the 28-year-old Brazilian grabbed his eighth goal of the campaign.
"I`m really pleased with my team`s performance. They showed great discipline, great belief and scored a very, very good win," said Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas.
"I think we were in control throughout the game. Of course we could have scored more goals to make the win more easy. But anyway I think the win is deserved."
A brace by Brazilian forward Ari assured FC Krasnodar`s hard-fought win over CSKA who suffered a third successive league defeat.
Ari put his side 1-0 up in the fourth minute when he received Pavel Mamaev`s pinpoint pass and slotted the ball home past CSKA `keeper Igor Akinfeyev.
Two minutes later Ari made it 2-0 after combining with countryman Joaozinho.
CSKA reduced the arrears in the 14th minute when Brazilian Mario Fernandes found Finnish international midfielder Roman Eryomenko in the box who kept his cool to fire the ball in under the crossbar.
"We scored twice early and boosted our self-confidence," FC Krasnodar head coach Oleg Kononov said.