The pre-match news that Chris Smalling had been ruled out for up to 10 weeks momentarily took the minds of United supporters off Ferguson’s surprising revelation on Friday that he had made a bid for Robin van Persie.
After Saturday, though, perhaps it is more understandable, with the Red Devils failing to exert any significant pressure until the much-maligned Bebe fashioned a response to Alcardo van Graan’s smartly-taken goal four minutes from time at Cape Town Stadium.
It does seem there is a chance the van Persie deal might go through, even if the respective clubs are miles apart on valuation.
Of those who appear to have most to lose, Javier Hernandez must be one.
After an outstanding debut campaign, the Mexican faltered last term, scoring just 12 goals.
In barring Hernandez from Olympic duty, Ferguson was making it clear the forward would benefit from his first proper pre-season as a United player.
After a sluggish contribution to Wednesday’s win in Durban, Hernandez was a bit livelier here, rising to meet Antonio Valencia’s far-post cross, only for former Liverpool keeper Sander Westerveld to palm it away.
Hernandez just failed to reach a delicate Michael Carrick through ball, which more or less wrapped up United’s threat on the home goal as Shinji Kagawa eased his way through a first start where he looked good in parts but gave the impression he will need to bulk up for Premier League duty.
The £17million Japan star was presented with an outstanding opportunity by Hernandez after an hour but he guided a free header wide.
Fellow new-boy Nick Powell was given 25 minutes to impress in central midfield.
It was the introduction of record signing Dimitar Berbatov that really livened the 50,000 crowd up, though Van Graan threatened to emerge the hero until Bebe struck at the far post.