Natxo Insa inspired to beat Perak and win Malaysia Cup for JDT

Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) playmaker Natxo Insa says winning back-to-back titles, with different clubs in less than a year, will help spur him on against Perak in the Malaysia Cup semfinals on Sunday night.

The Spanish-born Malaysian can stake a claim to be one of the finest creative brains in Malaysia after arriving from Levante in June.

Insa was part of that Levante side who clinched the 2016-17 Segunda Division title to earn promotion to La Liga.

Trading possible appearances against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid for first team action has paid off for the former Valencia man, who helped secure the Malaysia Super League (MSL) title with his new club in August.

"It is not an easy feat to win two championships, with two different teams in a year, and it gives me motivation to continue excelling at JDT," Insa, September's player of the month, told Berita Harian.

"Now we are vying for the Malaysia Cup trophy, and I want a third trophy for my collection, especially now that I've learnt that it's the oldest trophy in Asia.

"Perak will be challenging and we need to go there with a solid game plan to bring home a win and a healthy lead."

JDT do not have fond memories of Ipoh Stadium, having suffered their first MSL defeat when they lost 2-1 in February.

The Southern Tigers also had to grind out a 2-1 win over the Bos Gaurus in the reverse league fixture in July.

But Insa and his teammates will still be favourites when the teams face off on Sunday on the back of a sterling Cup run.

After topping Group D as they scored 16 goals, JDT tore apart Melaka United 5-2 on aggregate in a two-legged quarterfinal to set up their top-four clash.

Their motivation is sky high to reign supreme this year, having never won the Malaysia Cup since being rebranded as a club.

While their forward front three is bursting with goals, JDT have concerns in defence after leaking six goals in their last five games.

Perak have in-form Gilmar Jose who is raring to add to his eight goals in front of a 35,000-capacity home crowd.

The other semifinal will see defending champions Kedah take on Felda United in Jengka.