Premier League - Cech saves Chelsea at Fulham
When the otherwise impeccable debutant David Luiz brought down Clint Dempsey in the third minute of time added on, it appeared Fulham would snatch an unlikely victory against their rivals from down the road.
But the American's spot kick was saved by Petr Cech and both sides had to settle for a point in a match that Chelsea bossed in terms of possession but, with Fernando Torres again toiling up front, they struggled to find a way through a resolute Fulham back line.
The result sees Chelsea stay in fifth, now two points behind Tottenham, who occupy the fourth Champions League spot. Fulham remain 12th.
The long-term ramifications of that decision are not as yet known, but the Ivorian is not one to settle for a bit part role and a summer transfer saga could now be on the horizon.
On the day, Ancelotti's choice backfired and Torres, clearly bereft of confidence, looked a long distance away from justifying that hefty price tag.
Just twice in the first half did he have a sniff of goal, both late on; at the first attempt indecision let him down and for the second his touch deserted him at the crucial moment.
Otherwise, Chelsea had little to write home about during an opening period that failed to produce much noteworthy action at either end.
Just a Damien Duff shot that Petr Cech found too hot to handle on 24 minutes and a mis-hit Branislav Ivanovic cross that tested Mark Schwarzer at the other end were worthy of pricking the neutral's interest.
Chelsea started the second half in much more attacking mood - although Torres was unable to benefit from the improved service. The Spain international fired off target before heading over the bar soon after the restart.
With Fulham happy to sit in their own half after the break, Chelsea enjoyed far more possession but they were unable to convert that into anything more meaningful.
Malouda fired wide while Michael Essien should perhaps have done better with a header that glanced off his forehead and wide of the far post as chances came, but were not taken.
The introduction of Drogba in place of Torres on 71 minutes should have given Chelsea more of a cutting edge, but even the Ivorian could not find a way through. A run to the by-line and a dangerous cross that failed to find a team-mate was the best he could muster.
As time ran out, Fulham became ever more dangerous on the break, with Dempsey in particular finally beginning to cause a few problems. The American had already forced Cech to beat away a fierce drive with seven minutes left before he was handed a golden opportunity to extend Fulham's impressive winning streak at home.
But his penalty was poor, Cech made a crucial save and Fulham's fourth straight home win in the Premier League failed to materialise.