The young Italian didn't re-emerge after the interval, though. He was one of three players (Powell and Lindegaard the others) who made way for Bebe, Ryan Tunnicliffe and goakeeper Sam Johnstone.
Kagawa then saw a shot blocked, Anderson rifled a shot just wide and Shouting Wang's effort looped just over the bar at the other end as the second period began more positively.
Macheda forced a smart save from Shanghai goalkeeper Qui just before the hour mark after a surging run and slide-rule pass from Shinji Kagawa sliced open the Shenhua defence.
Just as he did in Cape Town, the Japanese international operated in the hole behind the centre-forward, moving between the lines and, where possible, making direct runs at the opposition.
One of those led to a shot on target that Qui smothered down to his left before Bebe tested the Shanghai custodian twice in as many minutes from distance.
The pair then combined for United's opener, Bebe beating his full-back before showing good vision to cut the ball back to Kagawa on the penalty spot. His first touch wasn't true, but he made no mistake with the second, hammering the bouncing ball into the net.