The CSL's top three all tasted success over the weekend, while struggling Henan Jianye let slip a two-goal lead against Shanghai Shenhua.
Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan and Guangzhou R&F came into the weekend's action occupying the AFC Champions League qualifying berths, and all three consolidated their positions courtesy of comfortable victories.
Leaders and reigning champions Evergrande saw off Jiangsu Sainty 3-0 at home thanks to two goals from Elkeson and one from Zhao Xuri, all arriving in the final quarter of the match.
Dejan Damjanovic's brace earned Guoan a 2-0 success over fourth-placed Shanghai SIPG, who lost ground to Guangzhou R and F - 3-1 winners at Hangzhou.
Guangzhou R and F fell behind to Gilberto Macena's 27th-minute opener, but were level shortly after the half-hour mark through Lu Lin.
Two quickfire goals from Abderrazak Hamdallah then sealed all three points for the away side.
At the wrong end of the table, Jianye looked set to create some breathing space between themselves and the bottom two, only to then be stunned by Shenhua's late fightback.
Leading 2-0 thanks to goals from Zhu Yifan and Huang Xiyang, Jia Xiuquan's men looked on course for victory, before Xiu Liang's 87th-minute strike set nerves jangling.
Lucas Viatri then popped up with a dramatic leveller for Shenhua in the fifth minute of stoppage time, to ensure Jianye were forced to settle for a point.
That result saw Jianye gain some ground on Shanghai Shenxin, after Cheng Yaodong's men went down to a fourth defeat in five matches since the mid-season break.
Hyuri's 86th-minute goal earned visitors Guizhou Renhe a 1-0 success - a third consecutive triumph for Zhu Jiong's side.
Sun Bo's last-minute equaliser earned Dalian Aerbin a 1-1 draw at Changchun Yatai, while the games between Harbin Yiteng and Tianjin Teda and Liaoning Whowin and Shandong Luneng finished goalless.
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