Shanghai SIPG failed to win for a third game in a row as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Tianjin Quanjian that leaves them three points adrift of Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande.
Andre Villas-Boas' SIPG side went into the game needing a win to restore the one-point deficit that existed between the teams going into the weekend, but a failure to score against the third-placed side means Evergrande have extended their advantage at the summit.
"We are very close to Tianjin in the rankings," Villas-Boas said. "Today neither of us has created enough opportunities. If either side had scored first, it would have been another story.
"Tianjin might be quite satisfied with the draw but for us it's disappointing because our gap to Evergrande increased to three points.
"I hope we can get back on track by starting to win."
The game was the third in a row in which SIPG have not picked up a win although the result does mean they have maintained the five-point advantage over a Tianjin side seeking to pull themselves into the title race.
Eran Zahavi, meanwhile, claimed another two goals to take his season's tally to a league-leading 22 as Guangzhou R&F notched up a 4-1 win over Liaoning Whowin to move up into fifth.
Solvi Ottesen gave R&F the lead with just 10 minutes on the clock before Zahavi and Tang Miao struck in the 25th and 28th minutes respectively to give Guangzhou a significant cushion.
Assani Lukimya scored nine minutes before the break, but it made little difference and a second from Zahavi in injury time at the end of the game gave R&F a boost in their quest for a top three finish and a place in next year's Asian Champions League.