A Salvatore Bocchetti header meant Rubin Kazan scraped a 1-0 win over FC Kuban on Sunday in a match that saw both teams reduced to ten men.
The result sees Rubin snatch seventh place in the Russian Premier League from Kuban, although the former two-time champions remain six points off leaders CSKA Moscow.
Bocchetti made the difference when two Kuban defenders and goalkeeper Alexander Belenov all failed to control the ball, leaving the Italy international with a simple finish in first-half stoppage time.
The previous ten minutes had seen red cards issued to players from both teams, first when Angel Dealbert hauled down Jose Salomon Rondon while he was the last man, resulting in a free-kick that Rubin missed.
Soon afterwards, Rubin’s Gokhan Tore saw red in only his second appearance for Rubin after a dangerous studs-up tackle on Igor Lolo.
In the second half, Kuban pushed for an equalizer and almost managed one when Ibrahima Balde went one-on-one with goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov, who saved the Senegal striker's shot.
Minutes earlier, Kuban's Marcos Pizzelli had failed to lob Ryzhikov with an audacious effort.
Despite the red cards, tempers remained largely under control and the match saw only two other bookings, both for Kuban players.
Earlier Sunday, Spartak Moscow breezed past FC Rostov in a 3-1 win.
On Friday, FC Krasnodar thrashed Mordovia Saransk 6-1 in the weekend’s opening fixture.
In Saturday’s games, Zenit St. Petersburg drew 2-2 with Krylya Sovetov, CSKA beat FC Volga 3-2 and Dynamo Moscow defeated Amkar Perm by the same score, before Lokomotiv Moscow ended Terek Grozny’s five-game winning run with a 3-0 win.
Monday’s Caucasus derby between Alania Vladikavkaz and Anzhi ends the round of games.