Beijing Guoan continued their perfect start to the Chinese Super League campaign on Sunday as a Jonathan Viera hat-trick earned the leaders a 4-1 win over Dalian Yifang.
Viera's treble steered Roger Schmidt's side to their seventh straight win since the season kicked off and ensured the 2009 champions maintained their three-point lead at the summit over seven-times winners Guangzhou Evergrande.
The Spaniard gave Beijing the lead with less than two minutes on the clock when he stabbed the ball home from close range and the capital club never looked back.
Zhang Xizhe doubled the advantage from the penalty spot in the 20th minute and Viera scored his side's third -- again from inside the six-yard box -- with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
The former Valencia and Las Palmas striker then completed his hat trick midway through the second half, to leave Emmanuel Boateng to claim a consolation for the visitors.
"We played very well today, the overall rhythm of the game was very good and we scored at the right time," Schmidt said. "For me, this game was very difficult. Dalian are not a weak team, they are physically very strong. But I think our players performed very well in such a difficult game, maintaining their desire for victory. This is very difficult.
"Our current state of mind is very valuable and we need to maintain this mentality. We need to fight one game at a time."
Guangzhou Evergrande remain within touching distance of Beijing after Anderson Talisca continued his strong start to the season, scoring the only goal as Fabio Cannavaro's side defeated Chongqing Lifan.
Talisca claimed his sixth in seven leagues games a minute into first-half injury time but was carried off midway through the second half and is a doubt for next weekend's top of the table meeting with Guoan.
Evergrande are second in the standings, three points behind Beijing and two ahead of reigning champions Shanghai SIPG, who defeated Tianjin Teda 2-0 thanks to a brace from Brazilian striker Elkeson.
Shandong Luneng, meanwhile, broke their run of three games without a win as Graziano Pelle's hat trick saw them defeat Wuhan Zall, with the promoted side dropping to the bottom of the standings as a result of the 3-0 loss.
Jiangsu Suning lost touch with the top three when Cosmin Olaroiu's side slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Henan Jianye and Tianjin Tianhai picked up a 3-2 victory over Shanghai Shenhua.
Guangzhou R&F relieved some of the pressure on under-fire boss Dragan Stojkovic as Eran Zahavi's hat trick secured a 3-1 win over Shenzhen FC that moved them up to eighth while Hebei CFFC shared the points with Beijing Renhe following a 1-1 draw that leaves the teams in 14th and 15th respectively.