MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) -- Uruguay striker Luis Suarez scored all four goals as the Copa America holders crushed Chile 4-0 on Friday to stay top of the South American 2014 World Cup qualifying group.
Suarez scored twice in each half, his goals spanning a 30-minute period in which Uruguay devastated Chile, who went into the match following coach Claudio Borghi's dismissal of five of his players for indiscipline in midweek.
Chile were also weakened by the last-minute withdrawal of key player Alexis Sanchez, who aggravated a right biceps problem during the warm-up. Sanchez had been out for almost two months with the injury.
Suarez was substituted soon after his final goal to resounding cheers from the crowd of more than 40,000 at the Centenario stadium, and watched the rest of the game from the bench with the match ball under his arm.
"(I scored four goals) just once or twice at Ajax but it's the first time for the national team and I'm very happy," Suarez told reporters.
"What's important is that the team won well. It doesn't matter who gets the goals," said Suarez, who helped Uruguay make light of the absence of fellow forward Diego Forlan.
Uruguay lead the nine-nation group with seven points from three matches after last month's home 4-2 win over Bolivia and 1-1 draw at Paraguay. Chile, with three points, had previously lost 4-1 in Argentina and beaten Peru 4-2 at home.
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo tried to separate the midweek incident in Santiago, when five players returned late after drinking on a free evening, from the rout in Montevideo.
"What happened in the week has nothing to do with this. That's a closed chapter. We didn't play as we should have done," he told Chilean TV station Chilevision.
Both sides attacked from the start creating and had a string of chances but Chile left themselves dangerously open at the back.
Chile could have taken the lead after a quarter of an hour when Humberto Suazo brilliantly fed fellow forward Eduardo Vargas but Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera cleared with his feet.
Suarez struck in the 42nd minute when he slotted home a pass from midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios and made it two before the interval when he appeared to net the ball with his shoulder.
Chile had a goal disallowed for offside early in the second half and the wind went out of their sails.
Suarez completed his hat-trick with a header from Alvaro Pereira's cross in the 67th minute and soon after rounded off the scoring with a rasping shot from the edge of the box.
Uruguay defender Diego Godin denied Chile a consolation goal when he cleared Mauricio Isla's shot off the line in added time.
The South American champions have a bye on Tuesday which will give other teams a chance to catch up with them in the standings in four more qualifiers. Uruguay play Italy in a friendly in Rome.