Krasnodar took advantage of Russian Premier League leader Zenit St Petersburg slipping up to keep its faint title hopes alive with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Arsenal Tula.
Second-placed Krasnodar moved to within six points of Andre Villas-Boas's side thanks to goals from Roman Shirokov, Ari and Ricardo Laborde, but it has plenty of work to do with just four games remaining.
Relegation-threatened Arsenal also saw Vladimir Korytko miss an 87th-minute penalty after Krasnodar had turned the screw after the break.
The victory cuts Zenit St Petersburg's lead at the top by two points after it was held to a 1-1 draw by Spartak Moscow, its third draw in four matches.
Things could have been much worse for Villas-Boas, though, had Hulk not come to the rescue with an equaliser in the final minute, the striker's 13th of the season cancelling out Romulo's 48th-minute opener.
Defending champion CSKA Moscow has conceded second place and potential UEFA Champions League qualification to Krasnodar in recent weeks, but it remains four points off Oleg Kononov's men after a 3-1 win over Ural.
Defeat for Ural leaves it in the relegation play-off places as things begin to heat up at the bottom, with just six points separating the bottom six.
Only two of the side in the relegation battle were able to pick up points in the latest round of fixtures, as Amkar Perm and bottom-club Torpedo Moscow both earned valuable draws.
Amkar was on course to beat Lokomotiv Moscow thanks to a penalty from Georgi Peev, but his dismissal turned the tide in Lokomotiv's favour and it snatched a 1-1 draw in the fourth minute of stoppage-time thanks to Alexander Samedov.
Meanwhile Torpedo Moscow had a comeback of its own as it rescued a 2-2 draw against Rubin Kazan with two goals in the final 12 minutes, moving it within four points of safety.
Elsewhere, Dynamo Moscow beat Kuban Krasnoadar 2-1, a late Ablay Mbengue strike gave Terek Grozny a 1-0 win over Rostov and Mordovia Saransk came from a goal down to beat Ufa 2-1.