Madrid, Sep 16 (IANS) Real Madrid have a vital game on Sunday when they travel to play Real Sociedad in the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian, and a defeat would see them drop to seven points off the top of the Spanish football league table.

Real Sociedad have had a flying start to the campaign and are second in the table on goal difference behind Barcelona with three wins from their first three league matches and a 4-0 victory over Rosenborg on Thursday to kick off their Europa League campaign, reports Xinhua news agency.

In all, the Basque side has netted 14 goals in their first four games and are a totally different team to the one which capitulated 0-3 here to Madrid in the first game of last season.

Real Madrid have struggled for goals in their opening matches of the season and although Cristiano Ronaldo was back to score twice in their 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday, he is suspended for the trip to San Sebastian as he serves the last of a five-game ban.

Left back Marcelo is also suspended following his sending off against Levante last weekend, while striker Karim Benzema and midfielder Mateo Kovacic are both injured.

Winger Marcos Asensio is available after missing out in midweek due to a infected spot on his leg, but it will be Gareth Bale who has the responsibility to score the goals.

Bale missed four decent chances in last weekend’s draw at home to Levante and was booed by a section of fans, as he was at a promotional event on Friday.

However, he has scored in Anoeta Stadium in the past and aims to do so again on Sunday. If he doesn’t Madrid could be looking at a mountain to climb after just four games.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.