[Rio Ferdinand Testimonial] Manchester United 1-3 Sevilla
ManUtd: Antonio Valencia (64)
Sevilla: Vitolo (21), Marko Marin (25), Bryan Rabello (91)
Sevilla may have won this friendly 3-1 but David Moyes' first Old Trafford fixture as manager was always going to be all about Rio Ferdinand.
The defender celebrated a decade of sterling service at the heart of the back four by earning the rightful acclaim of the supporters with his family and friends among the very special guests.
United trailed 2-0 at the break courtesy of goals from Vitolo and Marko Marin and, despite a game attempt at a comeback that included a goal for Antonio Valencia, as Adnan Januzaj announced himself to the crowd with a fine performance, it proved in vain as Bryan Rabello stole a late third.
Former Anderlecht youngster Januzaj sparkled on his first outing for the first team at the Theatre of Dreams and will have impressed everybody including Ferdinand, who pins so much faith in the club's youth products.
The main man came out to deafening applause to be greeted by a mural in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and was quickly into the action, deflecting a Diego Perotti shot wide and then clearing a Marin centre. The visitors, with a much-changed line-up to a shadow side that cruised past FK Mladost Podgorica in the Europa League on Thursday, looked bright and inventive from the outset.
Youngsters Januzaj and Angelo Henriquez were sharing attacking responsibilities and the two combined to good effect on 11 minutes when the Belgian fed the Chilean striker with an intelligent through ball but Henriquez, who scored in Stockholm in midweek, could only fire against the advancing Beto.
Alex Büttner, who was pulling no punches with his tackles, then tested Beto from distance with the keeper clutching the rebound as Henriquez hoped to pounce. They proved to be rare clear sights of goal for the Reds and Moyes was out on the touchline after a chance was created by Carlos Bacca.
Two goals in four minutes then silenced the home crowd as some slick football cut open the United defence. Bacca fed Perotti, who swiftly released Vitolo and the No20 beat David De Gea to stab the ball home. Soon afterwards, Vitolo was unselfish after another fine pass by Bacca and squared to hand Marin a simple tap-in.
Marin, on loan from Chelsea, whistled another shot just wide and United were stung into action with Shinji Kagawa unable to collect a cute pass by Fabio. Büttner's deep cross beyond the back post was volleyed across by Valencia but Kagawa saw his header from the most inviting of positions somehow scrambled away by Beto on the line.
After going so close to reducing the deficit, it could easily have been worse for the Reds as Marin sped past Chris Smalling and saw his goalbound shot diverted onto the bar by De Gea's boot with five minutes of the first half remaining. Bacca blazed over when Diogo Figueiras was afforded far too much space on Sevilla's right before Valencia spurned the final opening before the break, lashing high and wide after Anderson picked him out inside the box.
United upped the tempo from the restart with Januzaj, now working hard in a lone striker's role, lifting over a curler from an Anderson pass. It proved only a taster of what the teenager is capable of as he played a key role in Valencia's goal. Collecting a pass from substitute Jesse Lingard, he forced a diving save out of Beto and latched onto the rebound, dribbling past Israel Puerto with ease to cross for Valencia to convert from a couple of yards out.
It proved to be the Ecuador winger's last contribution as manager Moyes made three substitutions but Januzaj and Lingard continued to impress, even if the latter, celebrating a first call-up to the England Under-21 squad after a successful tour, could not connect properly with a wicked Januzaj centre.
Büttner fired over as the hosts, by now, were creating the majority of the chances, and Lingard was inches away from meeting a Fabio pass in the middle when stretching with his right foot. A sustained spell of pressure came agonisingly close to yielding an equaliser when Wilfried Zaha was thwarted by Beto and Büttner had a low drive blocked following some spellbinding skill by Januzaj. Michael Carrick then tried his luck, only for Beto to again prove his worth with a smart save.
Puerto missed a sitter when De Gea could only push a Tiberio Guarente shot into his path before the crowd saluted Ferdinand when he was withdrawn with eight minutes left. An equaliser would have been deserved on the balance of play in the second period but Zaha drilled inches wide after another scintillating run.
Instead, Rabello swivelled to score a third in stoppage time after springing the offside trap with a perfectly-timed run.
It might not have been the right result but United move swiftly on to the Community Shield and the chance of some silverware against Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
United: De Gea; Fabio, Ferdinand (Evans 82), Smalling, Büttner; Valencia (Zaha 65), Cleverley (Jones 46), Anderson (Carrick 65), Kagawa (Giggs 65), Januzaj; Henriquez (Lingard 46). Subs not used: Bebe, M.Keane, Lindegaard.
Sevilla: Beto; Figueiras, Fazio, Pareja (Puerto 56), Moreno; Vitolo (Samperio 71), Kondogbia, Medel (Guarante 81), Perotti; Marin; Bacca (Rabello 78). Subs not used: Navarro, Cala, Maduro, Gameiro, Coke, Rusescu, Julian, Cotan.