In a high-tempo match, the two-time Asian champions had to settle for a point after Huang Bowen's first-half strike was cancelled out by Jai Ingham's goal two minutes later.
The Chinese powerhouse have now won two and drawn one of their four games in Group F to edge them top on seven points, a point ahead of South Korea's Daegu FC and Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima who clash in the later game.
It was Victory's first point of this year's campaign having lost all three previous outings.
With their chances of progressing to the knockout stages virtually non-existent, coach Kevin Muscat opted to field a weakened team to give some fringe players a chance.
That meant no Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda or Swedish striker Ola Toivonen, while experienced former Socceroo James Troisi was also missing through injury.
But despite Cannavaro putting out the same full-strength XI that thrashed Victory 4-0 in China this month, the Melbourne young guns more than held their own.
Storm Roux almost gave them a shock lead after barely 60 seconds when he had a free header from a corner, only for the ball to graze the bar.
They kept the pressure on and Terry Antonis's long-range effort forced a diving save from Guangzhou keeper Liu Dianzuo.
But as the visitors started finding space Brazilian striker Paulinho shrugged off two defenders with some nifty footwork and his clever cutback found an unmarked Huang who had a simple tap in after 24 minutes.
Undeterred, Victory pressed from the restart and were quickly all square after a mistake by defender Guo Zhunyi, whose loose clearance fell to Ingham inside the penalty area and he made no mistake with a powerful shot.
Guangzhou moved up a gear in the second-half and went close several times, spearheaded by Paulinho and fellow Brazilian star Anderson Talisca.
But the Victory defence admirably soaked up the pressure to come away with a hard-earned point and were unlucky not to win a late penalty in one of their few chances of the half.