Beijing Guoan held off a late rally from Tianjin Quanjian on Sunday to secure a 3-2 win that moved back them back to the summit of the Chinese Super League.
Renato Augusto, Yu Dabao and Cedric Bakambu put Beijing three goals ahead inside the first 56 minutes only for Tianjin to rally in the final 15.
Former China international Yang Xu pulled one back before Alexandre Pato claimed his side's second nine minutes from full-time to set up a thrilling finish.
Beijing, however, held on to take all three points and reclaim pole position from overnight leaders Shandong Luneng.
"We weren't as steady as we had been during the final 20 minutes and we conceded control," said Beijing boss Roger Schmidt. "They threatened us a lot with their long passing. Our defence was being challenged right up until the last second but we managed to not let them score a third goal.
"I saw lots of room for improvement, especially how we keep things under control when we have a big lead, but overall I'm satisfied."
Shandong had moved into first place as Nemanja Pejcinovic's own goal gave them a 2-1 win over Changchun Yatai on Saturday, after Graziano Pelle had earlier cancelled out Odion Ighalo's opener for Changchun.
Li Xiaopeng's side sit one point behind Beijing Guoan while Shanghai SIPG remain in third place, three points further adrift after their meeting with champions Guangzhou Evergrande was postponed because of the arrival of Tropical Storm Ampil.
Former Wales manager Chris Coleman, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini as Hebei China Fortune boss, saw his side held to a second draw in a row since his arrival after a 0-0 stalemate with Jiangsu Suning.
Fernando Karanga scored a double for Henan Jianye as they came back twice to earn a 2-2 draw with Shanghai Shenhua while Junior Urso's injury-time effort rescued 1-1 draw for Guangzhou R&F against bottom club Guizhou Zhicheng.
Beijing Renhe won the battle of the two promoted sides with Luis Garcia's team cruising to a 3-1 win in their meeting with Dalian Yifang that leaves last season's second-division winners in the relegation zone.
Chongqing Lifan's 2-1 victory over Tianjin Teda on Saturday was not enough to save coach Paulo Bento.
Lifan announced on Sunday that the club had parted company with the former Portugal boss despite victory bringing an end to a run of six straight losses in all competitions.
Chongqing are currently in 12th place, just four points above the relegation zone as the season closes in on the halfway point.