Guangzhou Evergrande put one hand on the Chinese Super League trophy by moving 14 points clear at the top with a 4-0 win over Hangzhou Greentown.
Winning the title now seems a near-impossible task for second-placed Shandong Luneng, who have five games remaining to catch the reigning champions, including a top-of-the-table showdown in Jinan next weekend.
Whatever happens, goal difference will not be a deciding factor for free-scoring Guangzhou who on Saturday added four more goals to their impressive tally - Zheng Long bagging a brace before Elkeson and Muriqui struck late on.
Beijing Guoan are clinging onto the final AFC Champions League place and lead fourth-placed Guizhou Renhe by two points after beating Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 thanks to a Peter Utaka double. Guizhou lost ground after losing 1-0 at home to Tianjin Taida, Carmelo Valencia scoring for the ninth-placed team.
Fifth-placed Guangzhou R&F have an outside of securing continental football but were denied victory at Dalian Aerbin as Yu Dabao secured a 2-2 draw with a late penalty.
Yu opened the scoring only for Zhang Yuan and Lu Lin to fire R&F ahead, but the Dalian striker made no mistake from the spot with 14 minutes remaining. Elsewhere, Jiangsu Shuntian pulled six points clear of the relegation zone as Eleilson scored the only goal of a 1-0 victory over Liaoning.