MOSCOW (AP) -- A fortunate own goal handed FC Rostov a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan on Friday to keep up Rostov's surprise bid for the Russian Premier League title.
The league goes into its three-month winter break with Rostov, from southern Russia, in an unlikely second place, three points behind league leader CSKA Moscow.
"I think it's all about the guys, who put in 100 percent in every game and every training session," Rubin coach Kurban Berdyev said.
The winning goal Friday came in bizarre fashion in the 37th minute when Dmitry Poloz's looping header hit the bar, bounced onto the goal-line and was accidentally kicked in by Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov as he rushed back.
Soon afterward, Rubin's hopes of an equalizer took a blow when midfielder Blagoy Georgiev received a straight red card after a mass brawl sparked by a late tackle.
The enraged Georgiev refused to leave when shown the red card before teammate Solomon Kverkvelia restrained him and escorted him off.
Rostov's good form, with five wins from its last seven games, has coincided with a dreadful run for CSKA, which went 14 games unbeaten in the league at the start of the season but has now failed to win in any competition since Oct. 31. That has meant a sharp cut in its Russian league lead and an early exit from the Champions League.
That poor form continued Thursday in a 2-0 loss to Amkar Perm, whose goals were scored by Alikhan Shalaev and Alexander Salugin.
Also Friday, third-place Lokomotiv Moscow dropped two points behind Rostov after a 2-2 draw at home to Ural Yekaterinburg. Senegalese striker Baye Oumar Niasse, who has been linked with a transfer away from Lokomotiv in January, scored an 80th-minute leveler.
Reigning champion Zenit St. Petersburg is unbeaten in Europe but continues to struggle in Russia, dropping to sixth following Thursday's 1-1 draw with FC Ufa at home. Only Ezeuqiel Garay's late penalty saved a point for Zenit, which goes into the winter break seven points behind CSKA and four off the Champions League places.
In other results Friday, Anzhi Makhachkala climbed off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win at Dynamo Moscow, FC Krasnodar won a derby clash 3-2 against Kuban Krasnodar and there was a 1-0 win for Spartak Moscow against Krylya Sovetov Samara.