Shandong Luneng overcame the absence of Graziano Pelle to notch up a late 3-2 win over Henan Jianye thanks to a brace in the final 10 minutes from striker Diego Tardelli.
Pelle was ruled out of the game due to illness but Shandong took the lead through Wu Xinghan's glancing header after just three minutes.
However, goals from Zhong Jinbao and Ke Zhao put Henan in front before Tardelli's double -- scored in the 80th and 89th minutes -- secured all three points for Shandong.
"Pelle's absence was not because of any tactical adjustment, but due to his illness," said head coach Felix Magath. "He had a very high temperature today and was unfit for the match. It was no big deal, but he was just not fit for a match."
Tardelli's goals were the difference between the teams, with the Brazilian scoring the equaliser with a close-range flick before claiming all three points for Shandong with a turn and shot from just outside the area.
Victory moves Shandong back up to fourth in the standings, eight points behind leaders Guangzhou Evergrande but with a game in hand following the postponement of their meeting with Shanghai Shenhua earlier this month.
"We scored at a very early stage, even our players were shocked at how fast the goal was," said Magath.
"They might have had the feeling that they were going to win, so they easily handed over control to our opponent. Henan haven't been a team with strong attacking power, but they scored two goals at our home stadium. It is unacceptable. I can't be satisfied with this."