Guangzhou Evergrande hang on for win against Jiangsu Suning
Guangzhou Evergrande played out the final nine minutes with 10 men to notch up their sixth Chinese Super League win in a row as two goals from Brazilian striker Alan earned Luiz Felipe Scolari's side a 2-1 win over Jiangsu Suning.
Li Xuepeng was sent off for a second bookable offence as the game threatened to turn ugly in the dying minutes as Jiangsu sought an equaliser after Xie Pengfei's goal from long range had given Choi Yong-soo's side hope of sharing the points.
"Today's game was very exciting, both teams are strong and created a lot of chances," said Scolari. "The quality of the game was very high. We controlled most of the game, took our opportunities and won the game.
"Alan's performance was very good and the highlight was the goals. Our team never relies on individual ability to win, we are a team, and Alan has always been at the core of my team."
Scolari chose to rest captain Zheng Zhi with the vital first leg of the round of 16 meeting with Kashima Antlers in the Asian Champions League to be played on Tuesday evening, but the absence of the influential veteran did little to harm Guangzhou in the opening 45 minutes.
Alan gave the six-time champions the lead after just 12 minutes when he headed home from close range after Paulinho had glanced Hwang Bowen's corner into his path.
Three minutes before half-time the Brazilian striker added his side's second from close range and Evergrande looked to be cruising.
However, Xie's strike from outside the area nine minutes after the restart gave Jiangsu hope and Li's dismissal inside the final 10 minutes set the game up for a frantic finish. However, Jiangsu were unable to find a way through as Choi's team lost for the fifth time this season.
Guangzhou, meanwhile, have now won their last six Chinese Super League games in a row and are now five points clear of Shanghai SIPG, who take on cross-city rivals Shanghai Shenhua on Saturday afternoon in the Shanghai derby.
Earlier in the day, Beijing Guoan scored twice in the final quarter of the game through Zhang Chiming and Song Boxuan to peg back Guangzhou R&F after goals from Eran Zahavi and Xiao Zhi had given Dragan Stojkovic's team a two-goal lead.
The draw means R&F have now gone four games without a win and are in third place in the standings, seven points behind Evergrande.