China Wrap: Evergrande lose city derby
After seven wins on the trot, Marcello Lippi's men had opened up a three point lead at the top of the table but that evaporated as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to their city rivals Guangzhou R&F.
With an hour played, neither side had been able to break the deadlock at the Tianhe Stadium with Elkeson even missing a first-half penalty for the league leaders, however Abderrazak Hamdallah changed that as he netted his ninth goal of the league campaign to move Sven-Goran Eriksson's side into third.
Guoan took full advantage of that slip up as they joined Evergrande on 27 points with a 1-0 win over 10-man Liaoning Whowin.
Despite a close first half, the visitors' task was made harder when forward James Chamanga received a second yellow card just before half time.
Guoan continued to press for a winner and, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Pablo Batalla became the hero as he grabbed the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
The race for a top-three spot intensified as Shanghai SIPG and Jiangsu Sainty both won while Shandong Luneng lost ground.
Shanghai SIPG produced an emphatic display to beat Guizhou Renhe 5-2 with Tobias Hysen netting a hat-trick and Daniel McBreen getting the other two for Zhikang Xi's side.
Shandong Luneng fell to their third successive league defeat with a 1-0 away defeat to Shanghai Shenua, while Jiangsu Sainty ended a run of five-games without a win thanks to Ang Li's fifth minute strike against Changchun Yatai despite Dejan Damjanovic's dismissal.
Bottom club Harbin Yiteng were unable to add to the four points they picked up in their last two fixtures as Dalian Aerbin recorded a 3-1 victory, and they fell further away from safety as Tianjin Teda beat Henan Jianye 1-0.
Meanwhile in mid-table, Shanghai Shenxin came from two goals behind against Hangzhou to earn a 2-2 draw thanks to Jailton Paraiba's equaliser.