Real Madrid beat Basel 5-1

(AP Photo/Gabriel Pecot)

MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale took center stage as Real Madrid opened the defense of its Champions League title with a swaggering 5-1 rout of Basel in Group B on Tuesday.

Having ended its 12-year wait for a 10th European Cup last season, Madrid started the long road back to the final with a Basel own-goal and strikes by Bale, Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema.

The victory provided a much-needed lift for fans and coach Carlo Ancelotti, who had faced a hail of criticism after his side lost 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu against bitter crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

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