Shandong miss chance to go top
Qingdao Zhongneng stopped defending champions Shandong Luneng moving to the top of the table after easing to a 3-1 win. Jiang Ning, Abdoul Aziz Nikiema and the lively Qu Bo struck for the hosts at Qingdao Tiantai Stadium, while Alejandro Cichero scored a consolation goal for Shandong.
Shandong slipped fifth after the weekend's action, two points adrift of leaders Beijing Guoan and Henan Jianye at the top of a congested table, while Qingdao moved up to tenth after extending their unbeaten run to six games.
"We played like a team today," said Qingdao coach Slobodan Santrac. "We must continue to work hard to move further clear of the relegation zone."
Shandong were without suspended trio Roda Antar, Wang Yongpo and Han Peng and fell behind after 25 minutes as Qu crossed for the unmarked Jiang to fire past goalkeeper Li Leilei.
Qingdao took advantage of Shandong's poor defending seven minutes later as new Burkina Faso import Nikiema tapped home from close range after Li could only parry Jiang's well-struck drive.
Shandong suffered another setback two minutes before the hour mark as Serbian playmaker Aleksandar Zivkovic was sent-off.
Venezuela defender Cichero rekindled Shandong's hopes ten minutes before the final whistle as he headed home Liu Zhao's corner. But as the visitors made a last-gasp effort to equalise, Qu sealed the victory after rounding off a swift counterattack with a minute remaining.
"I had to make a few changes in the squad after so many players were suspended, but we still played good football in the second half despite the difficulties," said Shandong's Serbian coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic.
"We had chances to draw level before the opponents took advantage of our loose defending to score the insurance goal."