Georgi Nurov struck six minutes from time as Russia edged Estonia 1-0 to remain hot on the heels of Denmark at the head of UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 2.
The hosts, who had triumphed in four of their opening six fixtures, were frustrated for long periods in Krasnodar before Nurov emerged from the bench to salvage three priceless points. The result means Russia stay a point behind Denmark, whom they meet next September.
Defender Aleksei Nikitin had rattled the woodwork from a corner after 18 minutes, before Konstantin Bazelyuk fired wide with only visiting keeper Marko Meerits to beat.
Russia continued to probe in the second half and finally shattered Estonia's resistance with 84 minutes on the clock. Full-back Andrey Semenov was the architect, crossing for substitute Nurov to score with his head. Denis Davydov then elicited a fine save from Meerits as Nikolai Pisarev's men finished with a flourish.