Marcello Lippi's men needed a late goal to secure maximum points, Elkeson taking his tally for the season to 21 as he found the net nine minutes from time.
Giovanny Moreno had earlier levelled from the spot for Shanghai following Gao Lin's 50th-minute opener.
The result keeps Lippi's men 14 points clear at the top with six games to go, and they will seal the crown if they overcome Liaoning Whowin and Shandong Luneng lose at Shanghai SIPG.
Shandong at least kept the title race alive in mathematical terms with a 2-1 success at Qingdao Jonoon, Wang Yongpo and Cui Peng putting the visitors in command before Zhu Shiyu grabbed a late consolation.
Beijing Guoan are out of contention, but earned a morale-boosting win on Saturday when cruising to a 6-0 triumph against Guangzhou R&F thanks to a hat-trick from midfielder Zhang Xizhe.
Shao Jiayi gave the hosts the lead just 12 minutes in, before a Zhang double put the game beyond doubt, his first coming from the penalty spot.
The visitors never looked like a mounting a fightback and Peter Utaka helped complete the rout with a double, the Nigerian's goals separated by another strike from Zhang
Guizhou Renhe kept their AFC Champions League hopes intact with a 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened Changchun Yatai, Rafa Jorda and Zvjezdan Misimovic earning the points.
Tianjin Teda boosted their survival hopes by claiming a 3-2 triumph at Jiangsu Sainty.
Hamdi Salihi put Jiangsu 2-1 to the good after Carmelo Valencia had cancelled out Sun Ke's strike, but Valencia scored twice in three minutes late on to secure his hat-trick and complete the turnaround for the strugglers.
Wuhan Zall look all but doomed after they could only draw 1-1 with Liaoning Whowin.
The result leaves the bottom club 10 points adrift of safety, Yao Hanlin's goal not enough after James Chamanga had opened the scoring for Liaoning.
Elsewhere Dalian Aerbin won 2-1 at Shanghai Shenxin, whose city rivals Shanghai SIPG beat Hangzhou 2-0.
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