HONG KONG : Wuhan Three Towns continue to hold a commanding advantage over defending champions Shandong Taishan in the Chinese Super League standings as a COVID-19 outbreak forced authorities to implement a last-minute schedule reshuffle.
Brazilian striker Marcao scored four times in a 5-1 thrashing of Beijing Guoan to move Wuhan onto 34 points from 12 games as the newly promoted side maintained their unbeaten start to life in the top flight.
Pedro Morilla's team continue to hold a four-point lead over second placed Shandong, who defeated Cangzhou Mighty Lions 2-0 in a rearranged fixture after their meeting with Shanghai Shenhua was suspended due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Hainan.
Play in the Chinese Super League returned to a home-and-away format with the resumption of proceedings earlier this month although clubs must receive permission to play in their own stadiums from local authorities.
Seven of the league's 18 teams have not been given permits to do so and, as a result, have been playing home games in neutral venues.
However, a COVID-19 outbreak on Hainan - best known as a holiday destination for domestic tourists - saw three matches postponed and others hastily rescheduled due to an increase in infections and China's pursuit of a zero-COVID strategy.
Shanghai Shenhua, Zhejiang FC, Shanghai Port, Shenzhen FC, Changchun Yatai and Dalian Pro all had their matches postponed with the clubs unable to rejig schedules to accommodate games over the weekend.
Third-placed Henan Longmen slipped eight points behind leaders Wuhan with a 1-0 loss against Meizhou Hakka, who are now in fifth with 20 points after Yang Yilin's goal in Zhengzhou.
The struggles of last-placed Guangzhou City continued with a 5-0 thrashing by Wuhan Yangtze, while crosstown rivals Guangzhou FC, the eight-time Chinese Super League champions, lost 2-1 against Chendu Rongcheng to remain third-bottom.
Mid-table Tianjin Tigers claimed their fifth win of the season when Ba Dun scored six minutes from to give Yu Genwei's team a 4-3 victory over Hebei FC.