Al Ain thrashed struggling Ajman 7-1 to keep pace with Arabian Gulf League leader Al Jazira, despite the continued absence of star man Asamoah Gyan - who is yet to return to domestic action after his Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Saeed Al Kathiri proved lethal in the early exchanges, scoring twice in 16 minutes to open a two-goal advantage, with Jires Kembo-Ekoko and Diaky Ibrahim ensuring a 4-0 lead at half-time.
Boris Kabi pulled one back for the visitor in the 65th minute, but Al Ain added further goals through Rashed Essa, Kembo-Ekoko and Miroslav Stoch.
Like Ajman, reigning champion Al Ahli was also on the end of a comprehensive defeat, with its 4-0 loss at home to Al Wasl prompting under-fire coach Cosmin Olaroiu to issue a public apology.
The result leaves Al Ahli 13 points adrift of the top two, with Al Jazira's 2-0 win at Emirates keeping Eric Gerets's men tied alongside Al Ain in the title race, though the latter has a game in hand.
Third-placed Al Wahda remains four points behind on 32 points after beating Bani Yas 3-1, while Al Nasr held on to a 1-1 draw at home to Al Shabab to keep its AFC Champions League hopes alive, despite seeing captain Mahmou Khamis sent off just before the break.
An 89th-minute goal from Yousif Saeed Juma denied rock-bottom Al Ittihad Kalba only its fifth point of the season, as Al Sharjah stole a 2-1 win.
Al Fujairah came away from Al Dhafra with a goalless draw.