Going into the game, the 2006 champions needed a win to be sure of the prize. A draw would only be enough if second-placed Shanghai Shenhua failed to win.
Shandong, playing at home, were surprisingly held to a goalless draw by mid-table Guangzhou.
They were then left anxiously awaiting confirmation of the result from the Hongkou Stadium where Shanghai were taking on Zheijiang.
Shanghai had won 12 out of their previous 14 league games at home and with 14 minutes remaining were leading 2-1.
A first championship since 2003 was on the cards but a goal from Tang Yang silenced the Blue Devils and condemned the team to another year without a title in a dramatic final day.
Elsewhere, Beijing finished third with a 2-0 win over Chengdu while Tianjin stayed fourth by defeating Dalian 5-3.
Dalian just managed to stay out of the relegation spots.
Wuhan are bottom after withdrawing from the league but Liaoning lost 1-0 at Changsa though the former giants had already been doomed to dropping down into the second tier.
1: Shandong 63 2: Shanghai 61 3: Beijing 58 4: Tianjin 57 5: Shanxi 52