Guangzhou Evergrande’s stretched their remarkable unbeaten run as Shandong Luneng’s recent dip continued in the Chinese Super League.
Marcello Lippi’s side have now gone 16 games without defeat after a straight forward 3-0 success away to lowly Shanghai Shenxin at the Yuanshen Sports Centre Stadium on Saturday.
The star of the show was Brazilian Muriqui who collected the match ball with a second-half hat-trick.
After a goalless opening period, the forward broke the deadlock in the 49th minute, before doubling his tally in the 69th. He took his season total to six with eight minutes left on the clock, as the table-toppers made it four straight wins.
Having conceded just seven goals this season they now have a 13 point gap over second place Shandong Luneng.
Their recent woes continued as they could only muster a 1-1 draw at Dalian Aerbin.
Yang Xu’s third of the campaign put the away side ahead in the first-half at the Jinzhou Stadium but they were unable to build on their advantage.
And they were made to pay with just four minutes remaining as Dong Xuesheng snatched a point for Aerbin, to extend Shandong’s winless league run to five games.
At the bottom of the table there was better news for Wuhan Zall who end their own bad run of form by collecting their first victory in five matches.
They picked up a priceless 2-1 win over Jiangsu Sainty at the Wuhan Sports Center Stadium to move within three points adrift of safety.
Nigerian Chukwuma Akabueze scored either side of half-time to establish a 2-0 lead.
Aleksandar Jevtic struck for the visitors in the 75th minute to set up a tense finale, but they were unable to find the equaliser as Wuhan celebrated a vital win.
Fellow struggers Changchun Yatai and Tianjin Teda could only draw their respective home matches.
Yatai played out a 2-2 with Hangzhou at the Development Area Stadium, while Tianjin were held 1-1 by Shanghai Shenhua at the Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium.
Elsewhere on Saturday Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Guangzhou R&F were defeated 1-0 at the Shenyang Tiexi Stadium by Liaoning Whowin.
On Friday, third-place Guizhou Renhe failed to pick up ground on Shandong as they could only draw 0-0 away to Qingdao Jonoon at the Qingdao Tiantai Stadium, while on Sunday Beijing Guoan secured three points on the road with a 3-0 win over Shanghai SIPG at the Shanghai Stadium.