Robin van Persie started life at Manchester United with a defeat as Everton produced an outstanding performance to deservedly claim victory at Goodison Park.
Sir Alex Ferguson's £24m signing from Arsenal emerged as a 67th-minute substitute - but he made a quiet introduction and was powerless to prevent United starting the Premier League season with a defeat - their first since they lost at Chelsea in 2004.
And it was fitting that Everton's winning goal came from the outstanding Marouane Fellaini, who tormented Manchester United's makeshift defence throughout a thunderous evening on Merseyside.
The giant Belgian's towering 57th minute header from Darron Gibson's corner finally ended the defiance of United keeper David de Gea, who had kept Everton at bay with a series of outstanding first half saves.
Leon Osman also struck the crossbar - and when Van Persie was finally introduced Everton had an iron grip on the game and only looked like conceding the advantage Fellaini had given them when Phil Jagielka cleared off the line from Tom Cleverley.
Everton have traditionally been slow starters but in this opening game they dominated United for spells, with keeper Tim Howard only being troubled by the occasional effort from Wayne Rooney.
Goodison Park celebrated the victory noisily at the final whistle, leaving Ferguson to contemplate a lacklustre performance undermined by a reshuffled rearguard in which Michael Carrick never settled in his role as emergency central defender alongside returning captain Nemanja Vidic.
"Manchester United were the better side in the second half by a long way. But Everton for their first-half display, and for the way they defended in the second half, just about deserved it. I think this is the season when if anyone's going to get close to the top four, it's Everton."
United were without Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans - and how Everton exploited the weakness.
Ferguson eased Van Persie into life at Old Trafford with a place on the bench, entrusting attacking duties to Rooney and England youngster Danny Welbeck.
United were grateful to keeper De Gea for a performance of defiance and athleticism that kept his side on terms as they were terrorised by the power and presence of Fellaini.
The young Spaniard stretched to turn over Steven Pienaar's header then dived to turn away the South African's shot as Everton applied pressure. He did even better to save Osman's shot on the turn and leap to claw away a free-kick from Leighton Baines that was destined for the top corner.
United had opportunities of their own but they were rarities, Howard saving twice from Rooney and Welbeck rolling a low shot wide as United claimed a penalty when he tangled with Jagielka.
United's biggest escape came just after the interval when Fellaini once more headed into the path of Osman, who did beat De Gea but held his head in anguish as his effort rattled the crossbar.
Everton were not to be denied and finally got the lead they so deserved. The source was no surprise as Fellaini - who had simply been too much for Carrick - rose above him to power in Gibson's corner.
United gave Everton their most anxious moment after 66 minutes when Jagielka cleared off the line from Cleverley and seconds later Van Persie entered the fray in place of Welbeck.
However, with Jagielka and Sylvain Distin magnificent, Everton were in no mood to see their resistance broken and they claimed a win their efforts merited.
Everton manager David Moyes: "I'm really pleased because we performed ever so well. We've often started the season slowly but just because we've won one game doesn't mean we've had a good start - as it would not have been a bad start had we lost.
"Marouane Fellaini is a really good player. We can play him behind the striker, in the middle or because of his power in the air we can play him as a defensive one as well.
"The only time we had a really good start here we ended in the Champions League places. I don't know if that's possible but it would be nice for us not to be playing catch up.
"David de Gea made some great saves. In the build-up it was all about Manchester United and what they could do - I felt people called that wrong because we are a tough team to beat at Goodison Park.
"We defended really well when we had to. Phil Jagielka was outstanding."
- 24 Howard
- 02 Hibbert
- 03 Baines
- 06 Jagielka
- 15 Distin
- 18 Neville
- 04 Gibson Booked
- 21 Osman (Coleman - 80' )
- 22 Pienaar
- 25 Fellaini (Heitinga - 90' )
- 07 Jelavic (Naismith - 89' )
- 01 Mucha
- 05 Heitinga
- 23 Coleman
- 20 Barkley
- 14 Naismith
- 19 Gueye
- 28 Anichebe
- 01 De Gea
- 03 Evra
- 15 Vidic
- 07 Valencia
- 16 Carrick
- 17 Nani Booked (Young - 78' )
- 22 Scholes Booked
- 23 Cleverley (Anderson - 85' )
- 26 Kagawa
- 10 Rooney
- 19 Welbeck (Van Persie - 68' )
- 13 Lindegaard
- 02 Rafael
- 31 Wootton
- 08 Anderson
- 18 Young
- 09 Berbatov
- 20 Van Persie
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.90:00 +2:54
Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line, clearance by Sylvain Distin.90:00 +2:30
Effort from 25 yards by Darron Gibson. Paul Scholes gets a block in.90:00 +2:00
Steven Pienaar fouled by Antonio Valencia, the ref awards a free kick. Leighton Baines restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +1:23
Effort from 18 yards by Patrice Evra. Blocked by Tony Hibbert.90:00 +1:07 Substitution
Substitution Marouane Fellaini leaves the field to be replaced by Johnny Heitinga.90:00 +0:38
Oliveira Anderson has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.90:00 +0:11
Antonio Valencia crosses the ball, Sylvain Distin makes a clearance.90:00 Booking
Booking Caution for Darron Gibson.89:27
The free kick is delivered right-footed by Tony Hibbert from right wing, clearance by Nemanja Vidic.88:54 Substitution
Substitution (Everton) makes a substitution, with Steven Naismith coming on for Nikica Jelavic.88:54
Nemanja Vidic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Seamus Coleman.87:23
Ashley Young delivers the ball, Tim Howard makes a comfortable save.85:27
Centre by Seamus Coleman, blocked by Michael Carrick.84:36 Substitution
Substitution Tom Cleverley goes off and Oliveira Anderson comes on.83:38
Antonio Valencia sends in a cross, blocked by Steven Pienaar.82:42
Marouane Fellaini gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nemanja Vidic. Michael Carrick restarts play with the free kick.81:33
Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Neville on Patrice Evra. Ashley Young takes the free kick.80:48
Foul by Darron Gibson on Shinji Kagawa, free kick awarded. Tom Cleverley restarts play with the free kick.79:28 Substitution
Substitution Seamus Coleman is brought on as a substitute for Leon Osman.
The ball is sent over by Antonio Valencia, blocked by Leighton Baines.77:24
Corner taken by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Phil Jagielka.77:09 Substitution
Substitution Luis Nani goes off and Ashley Young comes on.76:28
The ball is delivered by Robin van Persie, comfortable save by Tim Howard.74:57
The ball is sent over by Luis Nani.74:19
The ball is swung over by Luis Nani, Phil Jagielka manages to make a clearance.73:46
Marouane Fellaini challenges Tom Cleverley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Tom Cleverley takes the free kick.71:53
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani from the left by-line to the near post, Nikica Jelavic manages to make a clearance.71:14
Tom Cleverley fouled by Steven Pienaar, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tom Cleverley.71:03
Unfair challenge on Paul Scholes by Marouane Fellaini results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Tom Cleverley.70:48
Leighton Baines crosses the ball.69:40
The ball is swung over by Patrice Evra, Headed effort from inside the area by Nemanja Vidic misses to the left of the goal.68:59
Corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Darron Gibson.68:44
Wayne Rooney crosses the ball, clearance by Sylvain Distin.67:49
Robin van Persie takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Nikica Jelavic.67:32 Substitution
Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Robin van Persie coming on for Danny Welbeck.67:17
Centre by Wayne Rooney, clearance by Phil Jagielka.66:43
Effort from 6 yards by Tom Cleverley. Phil Jagielka gets a block in.65:51
Unfair challenge on Paul Scholes by Marouane Fellaini results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nemanja Vidic.64:03
Tony Hibbert sends in a cross, clearance made by Antonio Valencia.63:13
Marouane Fellaini takes a shot. Save made by David De Gea.62:26
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar by Antonio Valencia. Leighton Baines restarts play with the free kick.61:56
Patrice Evra delivers the ball, Sylvain Distin manages to make a clearance.61:11
Luis Nani produces a cross, clearance made by Phil Jagielka.60:46
Luis Nani takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Phil Jagielka.58:43
The ball is delivered by Luis Nani, comfortable save by Tim Howard.56:52
The assist for the goal came from Darron Gibson.56:52 Goal scored
Goal! - Marouane Fellaini - Everton 1 - 0 Man Utd Marouane Fellaini grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Everton 1-0 Man Utd.56:32
Darron Gibson takes a outswinging corner to the near post,55:46
Wayne Rooney produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.52:31
Nikica Jelavic concedes a free kick for a foul on Nemanja Vidic. Direct free kick taken by Nemanja Vidic.48:38
Marouane Fellaini challenges Nemanja Vidic unfairly and gives away a free kick. David De Gea takes the free kick.48:06
Shot from 12 yards from Leon Osman.47:00
Effort from just outside the area by Darron Gibson goes over the bar.45:39
The ball is sent over by Wayne Rooney.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:00 +2:47 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +2:28
Corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani to the near post, clearance made by Phil Jagielka.45:00 +1:56
The ball is delivered by Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.45:00 +0:40
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Patrice Evra by Tony Hibbert. David De Gea takes the free kick.45:00 +0:18
Corner taken by Darron Gibson from the right by-line, Antonio Valencia makes a clearance.43:47
Unfair challenge on Nikica Jelavic by Nemanja Vidic results in a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Leighton Baines from the free kick, save made by David De Gea.42:07
Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Nani on Steven Pienaar. Free kick taken by Tim Howard.41:49
Centre by Antonio Valencia, Phil Jagielka makes a clearance.40:11
Leon Osman takes a shot from 12 yards. Fantastic save by David De Gea.38:00
Shot by Danny Welbeck from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.37:23
Patrice Evra delivers the ball, Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Tim Howard.35:51
Nikica Jelavic challenges Luis Nani unfairly and gives away a free kick. Antonio Valencia takes the direct free kick.35:30
Luis Nani produces a cross, clearance made by Sylvain Distin.33:59
Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Nani on Marouane Fellaini. Free kick taken by Phil Neville.32:37
Leighton Baines takes the inswinging corner, Darron Gibson produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.32:25
Nikica Jelavic produces a cross, blocked by David De Gea.32:07
Shot by Steven Pienaar from 18 yards. Save made by David De Gea.32:01
The ball is sent over by Tony Hibbert.30:08
Steven Pienaar has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.29:44
Shinji Kagawa is ruled offside. Tim Howard takes the indirect free kick.28:32
Short corner taken by Luis Nani.27:15
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul Scholes by Steven Pienaar. Strike on goal comes in from Wayne Rooney from the free kick, save by Tim Howard.24:48
Marouane Fellaini takes a shot.24:26
Corner taken by Darron Gibson from the left by-line played to the near post.24:13
Steven Pienaar takes a shot. David De Gea makes a save.23:37
Corner taken by Darron Gibson from the left by-line to the near post, David De Gea makes a save.22:35
Luis Nani has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.20:06
Leighton Baines sends in a cross, Shot by Danny Welbeck from 12 yards. Blocked by Phil Jagielka.16:26
Steven Pienaar has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.15:35
Nemanja Vidic concedes a free kick for a foul on Marouane Fellaini. Free kick crossed left-footed by Leighton Baines from right wing, save made by David De Gea.14:39
Unfair challenge on Nikica Jelavic by Tom Cleverley results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.13:39
Close range shot by Marouane Fellaini hits the post.12:37
Tim Howard takes the direct free kick.12:37 Booking
Booking Paul Scholes goes into the book.12:29
Paul Scholes concedes a free kick for a foul on Darron Gibson.8:27
Shot by Paul Scholes. Save by Tim Howard.4:48
Corner taken left-footed by Leighton Baines to the near post, Close range header by Marouane Fellaini misses to the right of the goal.4:37
Nikica Jelavic delivers the ball, blocked by Nemanja Vidic.2:48
Free kick crossed by Leighton Baines.2:48 Booking
Booking Luis Nani booked for unsporting behaviour.2:31
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Leighton Baines by Luis Nani.0:19
Free kick awarded for a foul by Antonio Valencia on Steven Pienaar. Centre by Leighton Baines, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Leon Osman misses to the left of the goal.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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