Russia showed few signs of rustiness despite a number of absencies as they secured a 2-0 win over Armenia.
Zenit St Petersburg needed a rare goal by defender to beat lowly Ural Yekaterinenburg 2-1.
CSKA Moscow coach Leonid Slutsky concedes the pitch for his side's home Champions League clash with Manchester City is in a poor state.
Spartak Moscow beat bitter city foes and champions CSKA 3-0 on Sunday to knock them off the top of Russia's 16-team first division on goal difference.
Martin Paterson's first-half header handed Northern Ireland an unexpected 1-0 win over Russia.
Round-up: Spartak Moscow remained top of the Russian first division on goal difference after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Kuban Krasnodar.
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