Eran Zahavi scored three minutes from time to salvage a point for Guangzhou R&F against Hebei CFFC as Dragan Stojkovic's side missed the opportunity to draw level with cross-city rivals Guangzhou Evergrande at the top of the Chinese Super League standings on Friday evening.
Zahavi scored less than a minute after Ezequiel Lavezzi looked to have earned Manuel Pellegrini's side all three points, but the Israel international struck to deny Hebei a third win in a row.
"This game was very difficult, very hard, competitive and also very demanding," said Stojkovic. "Our opponent is a super team.
"We can say that the team's performance was very good and we got a draw, which is a very good result. We had to fight very hard from the beginning, and after going 1-0 behind to be able to draw the game is good."
Victory would have moved R&F level on 19 points with Evergrande, who travel to take on Changchun Yatai on Sunday, but Stojkovic's side now sit in third, two points behind the leaders.
Hebei are a further point behind in fifth and Pellegrini felt his team switched off after scoring what looked to the winner in the 86th minute.
"This was a very exciting game between two advocates of offensive and beautiful football and both teams created a lot of opportunities," said the former Real Madrid coach. "We scored the first goal, but maybe we thought we were very close to victory and relaxed."