Frank Acheampong scored a goal but it was not enough as Mubarak Wakaso's Shenzhen suffered a 4-2 defeat to Shandong Taishan in a Chinese Super League match on Thursday.
It was a goal-fest at the Yuexiushan Stadium as the six goals were scored in the first 45 minutes of the encounter.
Marouane Fellaini's brace and lone goals from Xu Xin and Guo Tianyu gave Shandong Taishan a 4-1 lead before Acheampong halved the deficit for Shenzhen in the 44th minute.
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The Ghana international finished off an assist from Juan Quintero to bag his third goal in the Chinese elite division this season.
Acheampong and Wakaso played the entire duration for Carlos Granero's side but their contributions were not enough to inspire a comeback in the second half.
Shenzhen remain in the third spot after the defeat with 21 points from 12 matches, while Shandong Taishan stretched their dominance at the summit of the Group A table to 27 points after 12 games.
Acheampong and Wakaso will aim to help Shenzhen seal a spot in the Championship stage with two matches left to play for (another round that will feature the top four teams in the two groups).
Acheampong moved to the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in April following the expiry of his contract at Tianjin Tigers, while his compatriot Wakaso joined the Youth Army on a free transfer after his former club Jiangsu Suning were declared bankrupt and disqualified from the Super League.
Shenzhen will visit Cangzhou Mighty Lions for their next league outing on August 8 before hosting Chongqing Liangjiang at home, three days later.
With three goals to his name, Acheampong is among the highest-scoring Africans in the Chinese top-flight in this campaign but he is behind DR Congo star Cedric Bakambu who has scored five goals for Beijing Guoan and Ivory Coast's Jean Kouassi who has four goals for Wuhan FC.