Czech forward Jan Holenda headed three goals as ten-man FC Rostov recovered from an early setback to beat Alania Vladikavkaz 3-1 in the Russian Premier League on Sunday.
Rostov’s first win of the season lifts them from the bottom of the table to 13th, while Alania stay eighth. FC Volga and Dynamo Moscow are the two teams in the relegation zone.
Danilo Neco gave visitors Alania the lead as early as the third minute, using his strength to beat defender Andrei Ivanov to a high cross and head the ball into the net.
Holenda leveled the scores three minutes before the break, getting onto Timofey Kalachev’s cross as Alania goalkeeper Dmitry Khomich came out and found himself helpless as Holenda’s looping header soared over him.
Two minutes later, Holenda struck again with a pinpoint low header from Alexander Gatcan’s cross.
The third came on 61 minutes from a corner, Holenda using his strength to beat his marker.
Rostov played almost all of the second half with ten men after midfielder Edgaras Cesnauskis picked up his second booking on 49 minutes for a foul on Neco.
Earlier, Zenit went down to their first defeat of the season, losing 2-1 at home to a spirited Rubin Kazan side, while struggling Dynamo Moscow grabbed their first points of the season with a 3-2 win at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Spartak Moscow blew their chance to go top of the Russian Premier League after Zenit’s defeat Terek Grozny recovered from a goal down to win 2-1.
Sunday sees clashes between Amkar Perm and FC Krasnodar, CSKA Moscow and Krylya Sovetov, Anzhi and FC Mordovia.
The sixth round of games ends Monday when FC Kuban host FC Volga.