Guangzhou Evergrande suffer another defeat as Schmidt nets debut win
Guangzhou Evergrande's grip on top spot in the Chinese Super League was loosened on Saturday as Beijing Guoan inflicted their second defeat in a row.
Jonathan Soriano scored both goals in Roger Schmidt's first game in charge, with the result meaning Shanghai SIPG can move into pole position if they beat Changchun Yatai on Sunday.
Soriano gave Beijing the lead inside the first minute when he danced past the Guangzhou defence before slotting home, and doubled the advantage six minutes after the break.
After last week's loss at the hands of Tianjin Quanjian, this was the first time Evergrande, without suspended captain Zheng Zhi, had lost back-to-back games since 2009.
"To sum up is very simple, our opponent played better than us throughout the whole game," coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said.
"Guoan showed the perfect combination of individuals and the whole, and they deserved the victory.
"Not only for us but for any Chinese Super League team and also the national team, Zheng Zhi's absence is a very big loss. He has been the best player in China for nearly 10 years."
Hebei CFFC remain in third place despite Henan Jianye handing Manuel Pellegrini's side a 3-2 defeat thanks to a Christian Bassogog double.
Fabio Capello missed out on his first win in the league since taking over as Jiangsu Suning coach as Giovani Moreno's late double earned Shanghai Shenhua a 2-2 draw against last year's runners-up.
The draw was enough to move Jiangsu off the bottom of the table as they leapfrogged Yanbian Funde, who suffered a 4-0 thrashing by Chongqing Lifan to slip into last place on goal difference.
Guizhou Zhicheng, meanwhile, won in the league for the first time in six matches with a Nikita Jelavic penalty enough to see off Liaoning Whowin, who fell to 14th following a fifth loss in succession.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch