Guangzhou Evergrande notched up the required win, but Marcello Lippi's team will have to wait at least another two weeks to celebrate their place in the knockout rounds of the AFC Champions League.
Brazilian striker Muriqui scored twice late in the first half to send Guangzhou on their way to a 4-1 win over Muangthong United that moved the Chinese Super League side on to 10 points from four games and just one point away from advancing.
Guangzhou would have gone through had Urawa Reds lost in their group F meeting with Jeonbuk Motors in South Korea, but a 2-2 draw means the J.League side's chances of advancing remain alive for another fortnight at least.
The night was also a positive one for Guizhou Renhe, who secured their first-ever AFC Champions League win with a late 2-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners from Australia that keeps the Guiyang-based club's chances intact.
"I feel we already have enough points to qualify for the round of 16, but we will try our best to look to win the two remaining games," said Lippi of his side's situation.
Muriqui opened the scoring in the 37th minute, latching on to a through ball from Zheng Zhi before rolling his effort beyond Thai goalkeeper Weera Koedpudsa. Three minutes later Muriqui claimed his second of the night and fifth in four games in similar fashion, this time steering Dario Conca's pass beyond Weera.
Muangthong pulled one back through Sarawut Masuk eight minutes after the restart but Zheng Zhi restored Guangzhou's two-goal cushion just three minutes later and, with five minutes left, Feng Xiaoting scored to notch up a second four-goal haul against the Thais in a week.