Facing Sevilla in one of the final preseason friendlies before the Premier League slate begins, the Red Devils fell behind the La Liga club by two goals after just 25 minutes of action. The early struggle would carry over into the second half, as the visitors took down United by a score of 3-1.
SuperSport Blitz had the tweet as the final whistle blew:
Goals by Victor Machin, Marko Marin & Bryan Rabello gave Sevilla a 3-1 win over Man Utd in Rio Ferdinand’s Testimonial Game. #SSFootball— SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) August 9, 2013
New manager David Moyes can't be happy with the way his club performed on Friday. Even if his side was without stars Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, Moyes expected his lineup to improve in preparation for the upcoming season, not regress.
When the match began, spirits were high at Old Trafford. Celebrating over 10 years of service with the club, Ferdinand was given a testimonial by United to honor his accomplishments in advance of the 2013-14 EPL season.
As noted by Mark Froggatt of ManUtd.com, the centre-back was afforded a hero's welcome as he emerged from the tunnel and onto the pitch before the match:
Rio Ferdinand receives a guard of honour at Old Trafford. pic.twitter.com/mrAlHTN0lK— Mark Froggatt (@Mark_Froggatt) August 9, 2013
It was the visiting team that showed the better form early on.
The Spanish side wasted no time in pushing the ball and getting out on the attack. Sevilla had a corner inside the first minute of the match and received virtually no opposition from United's defensemen on the outer part of the pitch.
Getting out on a run in the middle of the field, Sevilla scored the first goal of the match. A beautiful pass from Diego Perotti to Vitolo drew David De Gea out of the United net, and the 23-year-old Spaniard slid the ball behind the keeper to give his side a 1-0 lead.
It didn't take long for Sevilla to strike again.
Marko Marin continued his run past the United defenders into the deep part of the box roughly five minutes later, punching home an easy score to give the Spanish side a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
101 Great Goals had a look at the strike on Twitter:
Well this ain't going according to plan! Marko Marin (Sevilla) 2-0 v Man United (Rio Testimonial) http://t.co/CPKMDKp0Gm— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) August 9, 2013
Yahoo! Sports' Brian Durand threw some more fuel on the fire with this tweet:
Oh dear Moyesey. United 0-2 Sevilla after 30mins. (La Liga teams are weeks behind in their preparation)— Brian Durand (@BrianDurand56) August 9, 2013
B/R Football on Twitter had a simple observation about the way the two sides were playing during the first third of the match:
GOAL! Sevilla up 2-0 on Man United (Marin 25'). The visitors have been very much the better side so far— B/R Football (@br_football) August 9, 2013
In retrospect, it could have been worse for the Red Devils.
Shinji Kagawa had a couple of chances to cut the deficit in half that went for naught, but Marin and the other Sevilla attackers were feverishly looking to push the ball from one side of the field to the other in hopes of a third goal.
Marin hit the post after De Gea deflected one of his low shots, but the two sides heard the referee's whistle with the score still sitting at 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Stan Collymore couldn't believe what he was seeing through 45 minutes:
Crikey, was at Sanchez Pijuan last week to see Seville. They were poor. 2-0 up against the English Champions.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) August 9, 2013
Facing the reality of embarrassing themselves on a day earmarked to celebrate the football accomplishments of Ferdinand, United came out stronger in the second half.
Who was the man of the match?
Noticeably more active in moving the ball and limiting chances for Sevilla in the middle of the pitch, the Red Devils tested the Spanish side more in the first 15 minutes of the second half than they did in the first 45.
It paid off—Antonio Valencia's goal cut Sevilla's lead in half and showcased the skill of youngster Adnan Januzaj. The teenager was United's most consistent threat for most of the match, and he made a move around a Sevilla defender to cross the ball in front of the net for his teammate.
Valencia did the rest to make the scoreboard read 2-1.
GiveMeSport Football had this tweet with praise for Januzaj shortly after the Red Devils showed signs of life:
Sensing that they had Sevilla on the ropes, United continued to pressure them. Moyes put Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and a few other subs into the game to add life to the lineup, and they responded with the kind of effort the fans would have been expecting during the first half.
Between a Fabio through ball that just missed the outstretched leg of Jesse Lingard and a stretch where it looked like Carrick would net the equalizer, the Red Devils were unable to come up with a tying goal as the 80-minute mark hit.
Shortly after, Ferdinand was subbed out of the game by Moyes. As noted by MirrorFootball's Twitter account, the man who the match was about received a standing ovation on his way to the sidelines:
Ferdinand subbed with nine minutes left. Gets standing O. What if United now play miles better without him and win? Awkward!— MirrorFootball (@MirrorFootball) August 9, 2013
Over the final 10 minutes, United pushed for an equalizer.
Wilfried Zaha had the best chance, but his bending low ball did not find the net late in the match and Sevilla would put the Red Devils away for good when Bryan Rabello scored his side's third goal of the evening.
"Rough" might be a nice way of describing United's Friday struggles. Sevilla, on the other hand, picked up a confidence-building win in anticipation of their opening La Liga match.
|United Player||Grade||Sevilla Player||Grade|
|David De Gea||C||Antonio Alberto Beto||B+|
|Rio Ferdinand||C-||Frederico Fazio||C+|
|Chris Smalling||D+||Nicolas Martin Pareja||B-|
|Alexander Buttner||D||Alberto Moreno||B|
|Antonio Valencia||B-||Gary Medel||C+|
|Thomas Cleverley||B||Marko Marin||A|
|Adnan Januzaj||A+||Diego Perotti||B+|
|Angelo Jose Henriquez||C||Carlos Arturo Bacca||C+|
|Philip Jones||B-||Bryan Rabello||A|
|Jonny Evans||C-||Jairo Samperio Bustara||C+|
|Ryan Giggs||C||Tibero Guarente||C|
Marko Marin, Sevilla: A
On loan to Sevilla from Chelsea, Marin was a high point for the visitors on Friday. As pontificated by MirrorFootball, maybe the Blues are chasing the wrong forward:
As we all wait for a Man United forward to move to Chelsea, a Chelsea forward - on-loan Marko Marin - scores for Sevilla at Old Trafford.— MirrorFootball (@MirrorFootball) August 9, 2013
His goal was more of a by-product of being in the right place at the right time than actual skill, but he showed promise on the attack and had chances at several other goals. Overall, his contribution to Sevilla's win was strong.
Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United: C-
What grade would you give Ferdinand?
As the man of the hour at Old Trafford, Ferdinand's performance looked closer to a celebrity cameo than that of a Premier League starter.
His man got behind him for the first goal of the game and he abruptly stopped in the middle of the pitch as Marin pushed forward for what would turn out to be the game-winner.
Ferdinand will likely look fondly back on United's gesture to give him a testimonial but, for now, a sour taste has to be in the defender's mouth.
Only Wigan Athletic and a battle for the Community Shield stands between United and the 2013-14 EPL season. That match will take place on Sunday, just six days before the Red Devils start their championship defense against Swansea City.
Sevilla's upcoming La Liga campaign will begin against Atletico Madrid on Aug. 18.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.