CSKA Moscow failed to impress against Krasnodar, but superb performances from Vagner Love, Alan Dzagoev and Georgi Schennikov gave the home side a nervy 1-0 victory.
CSKA's initial formation resembled their typical 4-2-3-1, but once the side had a hold of the game it appeared to shift into somewhat of a 3-2-3-2 as Georgi Schennikov pushed up to the wing and Ahmed Musa came central. Meanwhile, Krasnodar sat in a deep 4-3-3 with Evgenni Shipitsin dropping back behind Marcio Abreu and Mauricio Pereyra in the centre of midfield.
CSKA was on the front foot from the off, with Musa managing to miss two separate chances in the opening ten minutes. A few edgy minutes followed when CSKA looked like they could concede but a strong counter allowed Vagner Love to find space on the edge of the box and picked out Alan Dzagoev. Dzagoev was given far too much space in the area by the Krasnodar defence, and took his chance to slot in low to the left of the goal.
Following the goal, CSKA opened up and pushed for a second goal that never came. Georgi Schennikov pushed high up the pitch, allowing Ahmed Musa to come central alongside Vagner Love. Love himself distributed the ball excellently in the final third, but Musa was generally disappointing, spurning two further chances before the half, while Zoran Tosic put a simple volley well over the bar ten minutes from the break.
The break saw Shipitsin replaced by Hungarian attacking midfielder Vladimir Koman as Krasnodar pushed hard for an equaliser. They started the half well, but seemed to fall back after a small fight broke out between Igor Akinfeev and Pereyra and the game soon fell back into CSKA's hands. Pereyra came close to being sent off just minutes later and was quickly withdrawn from the game. Both Musa and Joaozinho eventually had chances to score in stoppage time, but in the end the match finished without any further incident for a 1-0 CSKA victory.
Man of the Match: Vagner Love
Love's movement and distribution in the final third was excellent and he came back well to stop a Krasnodar attack at one point. He did well to set up Dzagoev's goal and he could have had another two or three assists if Musa had put his shots on target more often.