Cristian Danalache netted an injury time winner as Jiangsu Sainty leapfrogged Guangzhou Evergrande into top spot on Sunday.
The Romanian striker bagged a brace to help Sainty overcome a stubborn Dalian Aerbin outfit 3-2 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center.
Sainty defender Ji Xiang opened the scoring after four minutes before Danalache doubled the host's advantage within five minutes of the half-time break.
Former Middlesbrough midfielder Fabio Rochemback pulled a goal back for Aerbin seven minutes after the interval and Zhou Tong struck the all-important equaliser with just over 20 minutes remaining.
However, with the match set to finish all square, Danalache stepped up to convert a last-minute penalty, his 23rd goal of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Guangzhou R&F bounced back from their defeat to Henan Jianye with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Guizhou Renhe.
Yakubu's 80th minute strike was enough to separate the two sides and consolidate R&F's third-placed position.