Guangzhou Evergrande was closing to its 7th Chinese Super League (CSL) title after edging Henan Jianye 2-1 on Sunday.
Jose Paulo Bezerra Maciel Junior (Paulinho) had left Guangzhou city for FC Barcelona, making the CSL defending champion fall into struggle. And Henan Jianye fielded a solid defence formation, keeping goalless with Evergrande in the first 45 minutes.
Ricardo Goulart then broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, finishing a counter attack with a tackle shot in the zone. After Ricardo Vaz Te of Jianye missing a pair of chances, a header from Alan Douglas Borges de Carvalho enlarged the home team's advantage in the 86th minute.
Borek Dockal pulled one back before the final whistle from a free-kick in the front of the penalty zone.
Evergrande tops the CSL standings after 22 rounds.
"Paulinho had joined FC Barcelona, we can't get new non-Chinese players this season any more, these would have effects on us," Evergrande's captain Zheng Zhi said after the game.
"Transferring to FC Barcelona is an honor for not only Paulinho himself but aslo all the CSL sides, we wish him good luck in spain," Zheng added.
Yanbian Fude lined up three non-Chinese attackers as starters hoping to avoid relegation, when it faced against Changchun Yatai on away soil. Yanbian has never defeated Yatai in Changchun city, and it still didn't break the cruise on Sunday when both sides ended 1-1.
Changchun enjoyed the upper hand in the first half, but defender Anzur Ismailov was shown red before the half time whistle.
In the 54th minute, Steve Trawally found the net with a header after receiving a pass from Han Guanghui, scoring his 8th goal in the season. Yet in the 74th minute, the best scorer of Yanbian was substituted by Jin Bo because of injury.
After Chi Zhongguo's shot was denied by Changchun's post in the 84th minute, Li Haojie gifted the home side the equalizer in two minutes. Although Odion Ighalo failed to get Tan Long's pass in the close range, the Nigerian forced Li to score the own goal.
Thus, the CSL Jilin Derby took one point each.
In the other three games played on Sunday, Guizhou Hengfeng beat Guangzhou R&F 2-0, Beijing Guoan smashed Liaoning Shenyang Kaixin 4-0, Shanghai SIPG earned three points by defeating Chongqing Lifan 3-2.