Newly promoted Mordovia Saransk grabbed an unlikely 2-0 away victory over FC Volga on Saturday in the clash of the Russian Premier League's bottom two.
Mordovia forward Ruslan Mukhametshin converted an 11th-minute penalty after Alexander Kharitonov pushed former Russia international Evgeny Aldonin in the box.
Kirill Panchenko made sure of the three points two minutes from time, blasting the ball into the far corner from a free-kick.
Volga had run riot in a one-sided encounter, and missed a penalty with ten minutes remaining as Volga striker Shamil Asildarov sent the ball over.
But Mordovia held on thanks to an impressive performance from goalkeeper Dmitry Abakumov and incredible luck. Volga hit the woodwork on five separate occasions throughout the game.
Volga extend a winless streak to 10 matches and stay at the bottom of table with 4 points.
Mordovia in 15th gained their second win of the season and are now a single point behind Alania Vladikavkaz in 14th.
Soon after Mukhametshin opened the score, he could have hit his second but Volga stopper Ilya Abaev deflected a solid 20-yard strike.
Volga’s center-back Alexander Belozerov missed a super chance on 23 minutes as his header from a yard out first glanced off the right post and then the crossbar.
At the very end of the half, Volga’s leading striker Alexei Sapogov rattled the bar again with a header.
The hosts punished the frame of the goal in the second half too.
On 52 minutes, Sapogov hit the crossbar again and Asildarov repeated the feat off the rebound in a barely believable passage of play.
Ten minutes later, Ilya Maximov stormed into the penalty area past three defenders and delivered a low cross to veteran midfielder Andrei Karyaka, whose close-range shot was stopped by Abakumov’s reactive save.
Earlier Saturday, FC Kuban earned a surprise 1-0 win at Lokomotiv Moscow, and on Friday, Terek Grozny beat FC Rostov 2-1 to go into second place.
Later Saturday, Alania can return the four-point advantage over Mordovia when they entertain Krylya Sovetov.
Sunday will see several big matches, including the much-anticipated derby between CSKA and Spartak Moscow and the clash between Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi and recovering Dynamo Moscow.
Also, FC Krasnodar play reigning champions Zenit St. Petersburg and Rubin Kazan entertain Amkar Perm.