Neftchi were held to a scoreless draw by Kyzylkum and the dropping of points allowed defending champions Pakhtakor to go top on goal difference after a 2-1 defeat of Tupalang in the Uzbekistan League recently.
Neftchi travelled to midtable outfit Kyzylkum for the ninth round match looking to extend their eight-match win streak but were held by the dogged hosts.
This played into the hands of Pakhtakor who rode to their win on the strength of goals from Timur Kapadze (43) and Server Djeparov (58). Tulkin Mizaev pulled one back for the losing side.
Both Pakhtakor and Neftchi are on 25 points, with Tashkent side Kuruvchi three points behind after a 2-1 win over Bukhara, courtesy a brace from Shavkat Salamov.
In other games, Andijan drew with Samarkand 0-0, Mashal thrashed Vobkent 4-1, Traktor Tashkent edged Lokomotiv 1-0, Nasaf were held by Navbahor 1-0 and Metallurg demolished Shurtan 4-0.
STANDINGS: 1. Pakhtakor 25, 2. Neftchi 25, 3. Kuruvchi 22, 4. Andijan 19, 5. Mashal 19