In Stuttgarts’ previous training matches in Cape Town, they obliterated NFD side Vasco Da Gama 5-0 and Dutch side PEC Zwolle 4-1. For the friendly against Ajax, it was decided to play three periods of 45 minutes each.
In the first two periods Stuttgart displayed their dominance and had total control of the game. They dictated the pace of the game and their defense broke down the Ajax attack with ease. Die Roten produced countless attacks through Martin Harnik, Romanian Alexandru Maxim and Bosnian Fifa World Cup participant Vedad Ibisevic, only to be denied by the Ajax shot stopper Anssi Jaakkola.
Both Ajax goalkeepers Jaakkola and Brandon Peterson who came on as a substitute, were in sublime form. If it were not for their heroics, Ajax would have suffered an embarrassing result.
Ajax CT chased the game for the majority of the first 90 minutes of play, however, it was Granwald Scott who found the opener from a superb shot from 24 yards out. The Urban Warriors showed glimpses of flashy skills but no real threat to the visitors.
Bosnian striker Ibisevic who scored in their previous two training matches, slotted home a penalty to level the scores before the end of 90 minutes. Die Roten immediately slowed the game down and held possession while progressing into the attacking third.
Going into the last period of 45 minutes, the match seemed to open up for both sides as they looked to find the winner. Ajax displayed confidence when moving around the ball and looked for the spaces when attacking. The introduction of the experienced Nathan Paulse proved to be the difference, when he headed home the winner from an exquisite delivery by Carl Lark.
VfB Stuttgart will get back to Bundesliga action and will face Mainz 05 on the 25th January, before taking on Uefa Champions League winners Bayern Munich on the 29th. Ajax CT will get their league campaign going against Orlando Pirates on the 27th of January.