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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Darren Wells

Joe Cole ignores Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi as he picks key PSG duo in Bayern rematch

Joe Cole has overlooked the incredible talents of Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi as he insisted it will be team-mates Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma who will be key in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League second leg clash with Bayern Munich.

Messi had a difficult evening as dominant Bayern earned a crucial 1-0 victory in the first leg of their last 16 tie on away soil at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday. PSG were well below their usual standard until the introduction from the bench of Mbappe - who has been struggling with injury.

He sparked PSG into life after Kingsley Coman's opening goal, but to no avail, despite sticking the ball in the net, only for it to be disallowed. All eyes will be on Mbappe for the return fixture at the Allianz Arena, but Cole feels it'll be two PSG stars at the back who will be pivotal to their chances of overturning the deficit.

Asked on BT Sport whether it seems like PSG are already sliding out of the Champions League, pundit Cole replied: "It does feel like that but I'll put an Asterix on that for PSG fans, or Messi fans.

"The last 20 minutes they put the burners on, Mbappe come on, they had two or three chances and they could have won the game, let alone drew the game, because they had moments.

"The difference with this PSG team, which is why I think they've got a glimmer of hope - two reasons: Sergio Ramos is back playing to the top of his game, and Donnarumma, I think they've got an outstanding keeper; and them two will have to be outstanding in the second leg, and they'll need moments with the front three."

HAVE YOUR SAY: Who will progress to the quarter-finals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Cole hailed PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma for his display against Bayern (Getty Images)

Fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand pointed out he felt Donnarumma could have dealt with Coman's goal better, after letting the winger's volley skid under him to give Bayern the advantage.

"He could have done better for the goal, yes," Cole admitted. "But he kept them in it in the first half, he was outstanding."

Despite their defeat, Mbappe is confident PSG can earn a victory in Munich to progress to the next round. "We have to remember the final part of the game; we're behind but we saw that we were able to cause them trouble," he said. "We need all our players to be healthy and go there to win and qualify."

PSG boss Christophe Galtier was also buoyed by his side's performance in the final stages and feels there was little between the two teams overall. “Bayern deserved to score when they did because they had a good 60 minutes,' Galtier said. "But then we had a 25-minute spell in which we were much better, got in behind and improved our link-up play. In the end it came down to fine margins.”

The two sides meet again on March 8, with Bayern without suspended Benjamin Pavard, who was sent off in injury time.

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