Nine-time Russian champions Spartak Moscow ground a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Samara on Tuesday in their opening match of the new league season.
Spartak took the lead in the 18th minute through debutant Argentine midfielder Tino Costa, who knocked in Sergei Patshivlyuk's cross from the right.
Armenia striker Yura Movsisyan doubled Spartak's advantage after just three minutes, sweeping home from the penalty spot after midfielder Pavel Yakovlev was bundled over in the area.
The visitors continued to test the hosts' defence after the interval but wasted several chances, while Samara reduced the arrears through Paraguayan striker Luis Caballero, who scored just before the hour after a mix-up in the Spartak defence.
Samara then pushed forward in search of an equaliser but Spartak's defence remained resolute as Valery Karpin's side collected a first victory of the fledgling campaign.
"We expected the hosts to play defensive style football and wait for our mistakes and they played exactly that way," Spartak manager Karpin said.
"Luckily we scored twice in the first half and were in control in the second until Samara scored. After that we played a bit nervously but kept our lead throughout."
In Tuesday's other match Amkar Perm experienced few troubles on their way to a confident 2-0 win at home to 10-man Tomsk.
Amkar started lively as they went in front just two minutes in through a penalty from Bulgarian forward Georgi Peev.
Peev then netted a second eight minutes later, again from the spot, after Vladimir Rykov was shown a second yellow card for a handball in the area.
"We started the match exactly like we were planning," Amkar manager Stanislav Cherchesov said.
"We dominated the play from the start and deservedly took the lead. After the break we eased the pressure and partly lost control but managed to keep the advantage against shorthanded opponents."