Bangkok: Captain Theerathon Bunmathan scored the only goal of the game as Thailand edged Vietnam 1-0 in the second leg of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 final at Thammasat Stadium to record a 3-2 aggregate win and lift the Southeast Asian title for a record-extending seventh time on Monday.

After the first leg in Hanoi ended 2-2 on Friday, hosts Thailand only had to hold out for a goalless or 1-1 draw in Bangkok to nick the title on away goals, but Theerathon scored his first goal of the 2022 edition in the 24th minute with a strike from distance to help Alexandre Polking win his second successive AFF Championship title as Thailand head coach.

With FIFA president Gianni Infantino watching from the stands, Vietnam tried to fight their way back for a second title in three editions, but Thailand shut them out with relative ease as Korean head coach Park Hang-seo’s hopes of lifting the ASEAN title on his final outing with the Golden Star Warriors evaporated.

After scoring six times to help his side reach the finals, veteran striker Teerasil Dangda once again was absent for the War Elephants after picking up a knock during training while talisman Nguyen Quang Hai dropped to the Vietnam bench in one of the four changes made by Park from the first leg in Hanoi.

Vietnam centre-back Bui Hoang Viet Anh’s mistake just five minutes after the kick-off presented Adisak Kraisorn with the first chance in Bangkok, but the former Muangthong United striker failed to make the visitors pay.

Three minutes later, Nguyen Hoang Duc, one of the standout performers from the first leg, cut in from the right and fired a shot over the goal before Nguyen Tien Linh failed to connect properly with an ambitious overhead kick in front of the Thailand goal.

The hosts then hoarded possession and seemed happy to wait for a gap to open up in the Vietnamese defence. That waiting game paid off in the 24th minute as, after a string of passes, Theerathon found some space to fire a right-footed strike from range past the diving Dang Van Lam and into the bottom corner to give the Thais a 1-0 lead.

Polking’s men continued to frustrate the Golden Star Warriors, but Tien Linh, who shared the Top Goalscorer award with Teerasil with six goals, was played behind the Thai defence in a rare foray forward from Vietnam in the 28th minute, only for the forward to fluff his shot.

Looking to turn things around swiftly, Park introduced Quang Hai in place of Nguyen Tuan Anh in the 36th minute, but it was Thailand who ended the half with another chance as Poramet Arjvirai failed to turn in a low cross from Sasalak Haiprakhon five minutes before the break.

It was all about game management in the second half for the six-time champions who would soon go on to claim their seventh ASEAN title. With no way through the Thai defence, Hoang Duc tested his luck from distance with a strike that whistled past Kampol Pathomakkakul’s goal in the 58th minute.

Theerathon played a quick free-kick to release Bordin Phala through on goal in the 75th minute, but Do Duy Manh got back to block the Thai attacker’s effort and keep his side in the game. Polking's side ended the game with 10 men as Peeradon Chamratsamee saw a second yellow card in second-half stoppage time, but it mattered little as Thailand kept Vietnam at bay for the remainder of the second leg to claim back-to-back titles.

The War Elephants, who were the inaugural champions in 1996, have now added six more to their trophy cabinet, including four of the last five editions, to assert their dominance in Southeast Asian football.