Two-time Asian champions Guangzhou FC were relegated from the Chinese Super League (CSL) on Tuesday following a 4-1 loss to Changchun Yatai in Haikou, Hainan Province.
The result coupled with a 3-0 win for cross-town rivals Guangzhou City against Shenzhen FC meant Guangzhou cannot finish higher than 16th in the 18-team top flight.
Yan Dinghao gave Guangzhou hope of securing the win they needed when he cancelled out Wang Jixian's ninth-minute opener, but three second-half goals sealed the fate of Zheng Zhi's side.
Guangzhou, owned by property developers China Evergrande Group, won the Asian Champions League title in 2013 and 2015 as well as eight Chinese Super League crowns.
Relegation ended Guangzhou's 12-season stay in the Chinese Super League, with the club winning the title every year from 2011 until 2017 before reclaiming the trophy in 2019. They were runners-up in 2018 and 2020 and finished third last season.
Former World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro was manager of the club as recently as 2021. Compatriot Marcello Lippi also had a stint as boss from 2012-2014.
Guangzhou City's win also meant Wuhan Yangtze were relegated after they lost 3-1 to Chengdu Rongcheng, joining Hebei FC in dropping down into China League One.
At the top of the standings, goals from Nicolae Stanciu and Davidson earned Wuhan Three Towns a win over Zhejiang FC that kept Pedro Morilla's side within one victory from securing their first CSL title as they top the standings with superior goal difference ahead of Shandong Taishan.
After a goalless first half between Shanghai Shenhua and Henan Songshan Longmen, Henan broke the deadlock in the 58th minute through Wang Shangyuan's penalty kick. Shanghai found an opportunity in the right flank in the 87th minute as Jiang Shenglong assisted He Longhai to level the game 1-1.
"Despite the absence of some key players, the team played very well. I am proud of them," said Shanghai head coach Wu Jingui.
Shanghai Port were given a 3-0 win over Beijing Guoan while Dalian Pro were awarded victory by the same margin against Tianjin Tigers. Cangzhou Mighty Lions were awarded a 3-0 victory over Hebei FC.
Wuhan will host Tianjin Tigers in Saturday's final round while Shandong take on Beijing.