"Overweight" Carlos Tevez climbed off the bench and scored just his third Chinese league goal but could not prevent Shanghai Shenhua getting hammered 6-1 at rivals Shanghai SIPG on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Argentine, among the best-paid players in the world on a reported $850,000 a week, was not expected to feature at all after new Shenhua boss Wu Jingui said in the week Tevez was overweight.
But on Friday, Wu, who took over when Gus Poyet quit on Monday, said Tevez had been putting in extra training of his own accord to lose the bulk and praised his improved attitude.
Tevez, who has struggled for goals, fitness and form during eight disastrous months in China, made his entrance at the start of the second period and was given a muted reception by the vocal visiting Shenhua fans. A few booed.
China's biggest derby was at 0-0 when he came on, but Shenhua soon found themselves 3-0 down in a madcap five-minute spell.
Argentine former international Tevez then suddenly found himself all alone to slot in from close range in front of a boisterous and near-capacity crowd at the 56,000-capacity Shanghai Stadium to make it 3-1 just after the hour.
It was only his third Chinese Super League (CSL) goal since he joined Shenhua in January from Boca Juniors in a move hailed at the time as a coup for Chinese football.
But Tevez, whose list of former clubs also includes Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, could only stand and watch as his demoralised side fell apart.
Brazilian international Hulk, who was a class apart, grabbed a well-taken brace for SIPG, who are second in the CSL under Andre Villas-Boas.
There was a heavy security presence at the stadium before and during the game.
There were isolated scuffles when police moved in on a section of Shenhua fans 30 minutes after the whistle and officers appeared to make at least one arrest, before security personnel shooed journalists away.
Villas-Boas, whose side are into the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League, said: "The first goal was decisive to open Shenhua up a little bit and they started giving lots of space and that's why we managed to go on and get such a high score.
"It's a difficult moment for Shenhua and as a coach it's not easy to take a defeat like that so I hope -- with full respect for the SIPG fans -- that Shenhua are able to recover after this defeat."
The heavy loss was Shenhua's fifth CSL defeat on the bounce and leaves them looking nervously over their shoulder near the bottom of the 16-team table.