Tianjin Quanjian's hopes of a place in next year's Asian Champions League suffered a significant blow as Fabio Cannavaro's side were handed a 4-1 thrashing by local rivals Tianjin Teda on Saturday evening.
Quanjian would have moved into sole possession of third place with a win, but Cannavaro's side lost for the first time in 12 games to remain one point behind Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei CFFC.
The result was a significant boost for a Teda side fighting against relegation and the three points earned lifted Uli Stielike's side out of the bottom two as a brace from Frank Acheampong helped Tianjin secure the win.
"I've just been in the locker room and I have apologised to the players because I made mistakes," said Cannavaro. "I didn't make it clear to the players how they should play. This is the worst game we've played in the year-and-a-half since I came here.
"I don't have to say anything to the fans. Our fans should be proud of what we did last year and that we are now in the Chinese Super League. Don't forget we have gone 11 games without defeat."
Yanbian Funde also picked up their first win in five games as Cui Ren's goal sealed a 1-0 win over Liaoning Whowin, who have now dropped to the bottom of the standings.
Ruben Castro scored the winner in injury time as Guizhou Zhicheng defeated Fabio Capello's Jiangsu Suning 1-0 while Shanghai Shenhua won their first match in nine league games with a 3-1 win over Guangzhou R&F that hampers the Asian Champions League hopes of Dragan Stojkovic's team.
Carlos Tevez was not included in the Shenhua squad, but the Argentinian striker's absence made little difference as Fredy Guarin scored twice before Gio Moreno's double sealed the three points as Wu Jingui's team eased their relegation worries.