A brace by Lacina Traore gave reigning Russian champions CSKA Moscow a 3-0 win over visitors Terek Grozny in the first official match at their new CSKA Arena on Saturday.
It lifted the Red Army side top of the Russian Premier League, one point ahead of city rivals Spartak, who will clash with Lokomotiv in a Moscow derby on Sunday.
CSKA, spurred on by a capacity 30 000 home crowd, were lively from the off and in the 26th minute a cross by Alan Dzagoev was headed down to Traore by Mario Fernandes, affording the 26-year-old Traore enough time and space to beat Terek ‘keeper Yevgeny Gorodov.
In the 38th minute Dzagoev found an unmarked Traore in the area and the Ivorian giant kept his cool to hammer the ball into the corner from close range.
After the break Terek poured forward in attack but their hopes went up in smoke as their fullback Andrei Semenov was sent off for a second bookable offence just before the hour mark.
Second-half CSKA substitute striker Carlos Strandberg rounded off the scoring with 14 minutes remaining.
“It wasn’t just another average match, it was a very special occasion for our team,” CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said. “I even had to calm down my men before the kick-off.
“I’m very pleased with Traore’s performance today, but I believe he can be much more productive.”
In the early Saturday encounter Amkar Perm beat visitors Tomsk 1-0 to go third thanks to a long-distance cracker.
Halftime substitute forward Alexander Salugin was the hero as he scored the home team’s winner, lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper from 45 yards out two minutes after the interval.
“I was too lazy to run and decided to kick the ball,” Salugin said. “Luckily it went the very right way.”