- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian title race opened up Sunday as both league leader CSKA Moscow and reigning champion Zenit St. Petersburg lost, while surprise challenger FC Rostov holds second place.

CSKA’s unbeaten start to the league season lasted 14 games but came to an end in a 2-1 loss away to FC Krasnodar, thanks to two first-half goals from Fyodor Smolov.

Krasnodar took the lead in the 18th minute when Smolov slid the ball past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev off a pass from Ari, before Alan Dzagoev’s scissors-kick leveled the score eight minutes later.

Smolov scored the winning goal on the half-hour from close range with an assist from Pavel Mamaev.

Defeat leaves CSKA six points clear of Rostov and third-placed Lokomotiv Moscow, with Zenit now fourth, 10 points off the lead.

Third last year, Krasnodar is a traditional bugbear for CSKA and has now won four of the last five games between the teams. Sunday’s win lifted Krasnodar to fifth, following a difficult start to the season for the team from southern Russia.

Zenit missed the chance to take advantage of CSKA’s slip with a 2-0 loss to Lokomotiv on Sunday evening.

After Lokomotiv keeper Guilherme saved Alexander Ryazantsev’s early effort, the Railwaymen had the better of the chances and went ahead in the 48th when Zenit defender Nicolas Lombaerts put the ball into his own goal. Ten minutes later, Alexander Samedov made it 2-0 after Baye Oumar Niasse’s pass from the left flank.

Zenit may have a 100 percent record in the Champions League but it has been badly off form in the Russian Premier League, now with just two wins from its last nine games.

Rostov’s improbable run to second place continued Saturday with a 2-1 win over Ural Yekaterinburg, sealed with a late own goal by Ural’s Vladimir Khozin.

Spartak Moscow slipped to sixth after losing 2-1 to Terek Grozny on Saturday, with Ablaye Mbengue’s magnificent overhead kick providing the winning goal.

Also, Dynamo Moscow beat Kuban Krasnodar 2-1, Rubin Kazan won 2-0 at home to Krylya Sovetov Samara and there was a 4-0 win for Mordovia Saransk against Anzhi Makhachkala. FC Ufa beat Amkar Perm 2-1.

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