Wayne Rooney failed to appear but a crowd of around 43,000, including 200 of Rio Ferdinand's close friends and family, did turn up for the defender's testimonial that celebrated 11 years of service for Manchester United.
The result was unwanted and, though this was a quasi-friendly for which David Moyes fielded a weakened side, he now has only Sunday's Community Shield with Wigan Athletic at Wembley before he begins United's title defence at Swansea City.
At half-time Sevilla led 2-0, though this could have been more, as the Spanish team strolled through United at times. Before Vitolo became the first man to score against a Moyes United side at Old Trafford, Angelo Henríquez should have given United the lead.
Adnan Januzaj, one of the better performers on the club's pre-season tour, slipped the ball into the Chilean and his shot was saved low down by Beto. Vitolo's opener came when Diego Perotti played him in and the forward beat David De Gea with ease.
Five minutes later the lead had doubled following a move from the visitors that bypassed United's midfield and defence too easily. Marko Marin, on loan from Chelsea, passed to Carlos Bacca, who moved it on to Vitolo. The striker found Marin, who had continued to run, in front of goal and he made no mistake. The same player might have claimed a hat-trick before the break, the best of two further chances coming when he forced De Gea to save well on to the right angle of his goal from close range.
Moyes, whose record coming into this game was two wins, two defeats and two draws, could curse his luck that his team had not pulled at least one back when Shinji Kagawa directed a header too close to Beto, who saved well again.
After a half-time and on-pitch appearances from Boris Becker, Dynamo (a magician) and Tinchy Stryder, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard entered for the second half as Henríquez and Tom Cleverley came off. Lingard had an attempt blocked before Antonio Valencia finally gave the crowd cheer with a 65th-minute goal that proved only a consolation.
Bryan Rabello sealed a disappointing evening for Ferdinand and Moyes with his late finish that completed United's defeat, their third from seven matches under the new manager.
For Ferdinand thoughts are already turning to what he may do after playing. Asked if he wanted to remain in the game following retirement that could come as soon as next summer, Ferdinand said: "Absolutely. I've only been back for a few weeks but already I've seen Phil Neville come into coaching and Giggsy's on that side of things now as well. Steve Round's young, too. I've had a good few chats with them and it's whetted my appetite. I could sit and talk about football for hours at a time and I love the football environment. Do I really want to walk away from all of that? I'm not sure. I think Id be foolish to walk away completely, so I'm going to do my badges and, if I get the opportunity to stay in football, I'm sure I'll take it."
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Fabio, Ferdinand (Evans, 81), Smalling, Buttner; Anderson (Carrick, 65), Cleverley (Jones, h-t); Valencia (Zaha, 65), Januzaj, Kagawa (Giggs, 65); Henríquez (Lingard, h-t).
Subs not used Lindegaard, Carrick, Bebe, Keane
Sevilla (4-1-4-1) Beto; Figueiras, Fazio, Pareja, Moreno; Kondogbia; Marin, Medel Perotti, Vitolo; Bacca (Rabello, 77).
Subs not used Navarro, Cala, Maduro, Guarente, Gameiro, Coke, Rusescu, Julian, Cotan, Puerto, Samperio
Referee L Probert