Carlos Villanueva struck an 85th-minute winner as Al Shabab remained in touch with the Arabian Gulf League leaders by winning 2-1 at Al Dhafra.
The visitor, which was beaten 4-3 at leader Al Jazira last weekend, was dealt a blow when Henrique Luvannor was sent off in just the 10th minute.
Despite the numerical disadvantage Caio Junior's men took the lead seven minutes before the break thanks to a rare goal from defender Essa Mohammed.
However, the host, which is just three points above the relegation zone, was level at the break courtesy of Makhete Diop's strike.
It looked as though the match would end all square until Villanueva's late intervention, which ensured Al Shabab is just two points adrift of Al Jazira.
Second-placed Al Ain secured a comfortable 4-1 over Al Sharjah at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.
Asamoah Gyan and Miroslav Stoch were among the goalscorers and Al Ain remains just one point off top spot with two games in hand.
Table-topper Al Jazira was staring down the barrel of defeat at home to Al Wasl, after a penalty from Ederson and Caio's strike cancelled out Jucilei's sixth-minute opener.
However, Mirko Vucinic's 16th-goal in an impressive campaign sparked the comeback and further goals from Jonathan Pitroipa and Ali Ahmed Mabkhout ensured a 4-2 win.
Emirates inflicted further misery on rock-bottom Al Ittihad Kalba, as it secured a 1-0 victory.
Al Fujairah triumphed 1-0 over fellow struggler Ajman, while champion Al Ahli was held to a goalless draw by Bani Yas and Al Wahda won 2-0 at Al Nasr.