The visit of leaders Guangzhou Evergrande proved a step too far for Harbin Yiteng as their mini-revival ended in a nine-goal thriller.
Yiteng had bolstered their hopes of survival with surprise back-to-back victories over Guizhou Renhe and Shandong Luneng but were unable to make it three straight wins on Wednesday.
Welcoming the defending champions was always likely to prove a stern test and Marcello Lippi's men showed their quality from the off - moving 3-0 ahead after just 15 minutes.
Elkeson, Gao Lin and a Ricardo Steer own goal all but took the game beyond Harbin's reach before Steer made up for his error with the hosts' first six minutes after the interval.
The goals continued to flow as Lin restored Guangzhou's three-goal cushion with Dori, Rene Junior, Steer and Elkeson rounding off the scoring.
The win maintained Guangzhou's seven-point lead with a game in hand as the chasing pack all picked up maximum points.
Beijing Guoan saw off Dalian Aerbin comfortably 4-1 with all the goals coming after the break - Erton Fejzullahu scoring his first two for the club since moving from Djurgarden.
Peter Utaka's early penalty was not enough to help Shanghai Shenxin overcome city rivals SIPG as Daniel McBreen, Imad Khalili and Wu Lei turned the game on its head.
On Thursday, Guangzhou R&F recovered from their defeat to Tianjin Teda by hitting five past Liaoning - goals from Park Jong-woo, Abderrazak Hamdallah and Aaron Olanare as well as a Wang Xiaolong brace seeing the hosts off.
While the top three remains unchanged, fifth-place Shandong Luneng squandered a two-goal lead to draw against Jiangsu Sainty as their AFC Champions League hopes took a hit.
With Harbin Yiteng's winning run halted, Henan Jianye edged a point clear of danger courtesy of a goalless draw with Changchun Yatai at the Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium.
The draw puts them above Liaoning Whowin on goal difference with Yatai also edging up a place to 12th.
Elsewhere, Hangzhou and Shanghai Shenhua played out a goalless draw, while Guizhou Renhe came from a goal down to see off Tianjin Teda with goals from Hyuri and Yang Yihu.
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