Ulsan emphatically ended Melbourne Victory's chances of escaping Group F with a 6-2 hammering of the Australian side in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.
Junior Negao and Mislav Orsic struck doubles, while Lim Jong-eun and Kim Seung-jun were also on target to lead the 2012 winners into the knockout stages.
Substitute Kenny Athiu and New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses grabbed late consolations for third-place Victory, who will be unable to leapfrog the K League 1 side in their final outing due to an inferior head-to-head record.
Ulsan will finish second behind Shanghai SIPG, who were held to a 1-1 home draw by Kawasaki Frontale after Elkeson's 68th-minute opener was cancelled out later by Kei Chinen's header.
Hulk blasted over a first-half penalty against his former employers, but the 31-year-old returned to tee up the goal that ultimately secured top spot.
Tianjin Quanjian became the second Chinese Super League club to reach the last 16 courtesy of a late 1-0 win at Kitchee in Group E.
Anthony Modeste nodded the only goal in the 89th minute to sew up a top-two finish for Paolo Sousa's men, leaving Hong Kong-based Kitchee with just three points from five games.
Quanjian's victory confirmed Kashiwa Reysol's exit following their 2-0 defeat at home to Jeonbuk Motors.
The Japanese side needed a result to retain any hope of advancing, but goals from Ricardo Lopes and Lee Dong-gook either side of half-time sealed progression for group leaders Jeonbuk.