Changchun Yatai picked up their first victory in almost a month thanks to the late heroics of Tan Long.
The North-East club overcame third-placed Guizhou Hengfeng at home in a hard-fought 2-1 game that was plagued by torrential rain throughout.
Club stalwart Sun Jie made his first start for the club since returning from his unsuccessful loan spell with Norwegian side Stabaek and helped provide further stability in the heart of defence.
But that wouldn’t stop the visitors from opening the scoring in the second half, with Sergio Mota’s lofted shot from the edge of the box reaching the top corner, out of reach of Changchun goalkeeper Shi Xiaotian.
Changchun Yatai continued to battle hard and were rewarded when Richairo Zivkovic managed to slot a pass across to Tan Long, who coolly fired home to level the scores in the 76th minute.
Things began to sway in favour of the home side after Guizhou right back Jiang Liang was shown a second yellow card after a high foot challenge.
With the visitors down to just ten men, the home side began to take advantage and Dutch striker Zivkovic came close to scoring when his header from inside the box was tipped onto the crossbar by Zhang Sipeng.
With the red card and a number of fouls being committed in the difficult conditions, four minutes of extra time were added – but it would be a Guizhou player’s injury that would allow the home side even more time.
With five minutes gone, a perfectly lofted cross found Tan Long, who headed home the winner to the jubilation of the home crowd, securing his team a vital three points.
The victory sees Changchun climb into four points, sitting behind Guizhou on goal difference and now only one point behind second-placed Nei Mongol Zhongyou and five points behind league leaders Qingdao Huanghai.
Changchun Yatai are unbeaten in five consecutive games with this weekend’s victory and, with 13 games remaining this season, have a legitimate opportunity to push for promotion back into the Chinese Super League.
Results such as this must continue if Svetozar Šapurić hopes to guide the one-time Chinese champions back into the top tier.