Robin van Persie’s much-anticipated debut for Manchester United failed to prevent Everton delivering an early reality check in their bid to regain the Barclays Premier League title.
While defending champions and near-neighbours City achieved a come-from-behind win against Southampton on Sunday the Red Devils were second best for most of the night at Goodison Park.
The thorn in their side was midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who was finally rewarded for an outstanding display with the winning goal in the 57th minute. Former Red Devil Darron Gibson swung over a corner and he left Michael Carrick sprawling on the turf to power home a header.
Van Persie, a £24million acquisition from Arsenal, was brought in to provide the additional firepower needed to challenge City but in a late substitute appearance he did not register a shot on target.
United had chances of their own, with Danny Welbeck seeing one shot blocked by Phil Jagielka and another hooked wide under pressure from the centre-back.
Former Evertonian Wayne Rooney was quiet by his standards, hitting two shots too close to Tim Howard and seeing a late first-half header punched clear.
Everton had won only twice at home against United in 17 years but this result proved, if they can maintain a half-decent start, they are destined for bigger things this season.
Matchwinner Fellaini was quick to pay tribute to the team effort as they won their opening fixture for the first time in five seasons.
“It was a good goal, it was a good cross, a good corner. It was good for me and for Everton,” Fellaini told Sky Sports 1.
“Everton had a lot of chances in the first half and we had to keep going and hoped the team scored.
“I think everybody was motivated. Manchester United is a great club. Everybody is motivated, and I think today everybody played well.”