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