In a game that drew precious few saves from either goalkeeper, it was fitting that the winner should come from a set-piece late on. It was Vidic who swooped on 83 minutes from Nani's corner, powering his header past debutant Stefan Wessels in the Everton goal.
Minutes later it was Vidic's defensive partner Ferdinand who was the hero as he sensationally blocked Victor Anichebe's effort after United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar had spilled James McFadden's swerving drive.
In the first-half, United lost Mikael Silvestre with what looked a twisted knee as he slipped making a tackle, he was carried off with Nani taking over after 39 minutes. The Portuguese made way after the winner for Gerard Pique, who turned in a tidy performance in midfield in the final ten minutes.