Sevilla created nearly all of the chances, but could not find a way past an inspired David de Gea, who made two stunning saves from Steven N'Zonzi and Luis Muriel late in the first half.
The Spain global foiled Colombian striker Luis Muriel from point-blank range at the end of the first half not long after tipping over an overhead kick from Argentine defender Gabriel Mercado as the Spaniards created far more chances than Jose Mourinho's side.
United are likely to be happy with the result as the wasteful Sevilla could have won the match by a huge margin if not for De Gea's heroics.
And former Manchester United defender Ferdinand was clearly impressed with what he saw from De Gea in Sevilla on Wednesday night.
"No, I'm not relieved".
"I think he has a bad injury".
"The stats are what they are".
And, in response, Mourinho said to BT Sport: "Can I hug you?" So I feel the result reflects what the game was.
However, although Manchester United failed to have a clear attempt on goal in the second half, the majority of Sevilla's opportunities were from outside of the box and although substitute Sandro Ramirez attempted to add extra aggression in the closing minutes while Jesus Navas optimistically claimed a penalty, for Sevilla it was not to be, although they will travel to Old Trafford in three weeks knowing that surely United will have to try and play more football in the second leg.
Paul Pogba had dominated the agenda before kick-off after being left on the bench, although just 17 minutes in Mourinho had to turn to the club-record signing.
Asked about his absence before United's 2-0 win at the John Smith's Stadium, the United manager said "I don't know and, honestly, I don't care" how long the player would be out.
Pogba did not manage to answer his many recent critics, who have questioned his influence over the last two months.
Muriel had nobody close to him when he jumped near the six-metre line, but his firm header wasn't placed far enough from De Gea and the goalkeeper made him pay.
"When you play matches like this the key is scoring in these little chances like that, but in general the team played very well".
In the night's other game, Shakhtar Donetsk came from a goal down to beat Roma 2-1 after midfielder Fred netted the victor with a ideal free kick in the 71st minute.