|Torres is still waiting for his first Chelsea goal after a stalemate in west London [GALLO/GETTY]
Petr Cech saved a penalty deep into injury time to rescue new Chelsea signing David Luiz after the Brazilian defender had tripped Fulham's Clint Dempsey in the box.
American striker Dempsey fired his spot-kick too close to the visitors' keeper in a 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage to keep the English champions just about in sight of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.
Chelsea are now on 45 points, 12 behind United, while the point gives Fulham 31.
Fernando Torres continued to struggle in his second game for Chelsea since leaving Liverpool, lacking confidence in the few breaks on goal that the record signing managed in the place of Didier Drogba, who started on the bench.
Chelsea, beaten at home by Liverpool in their last match, dominated possession and had more than 20 attempts on goal as former coach Jose Mourinho, on a Real Madrid watching brief, watched from the stands.
But few were clear chances and when they did find the target, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer kept them at bay.
Torres looked out of sorts and Drogba, who came off the bench to replace the $80.1 million Spanish striker for the last 20 minutes, also failed to make any impact.
Fulham's golden chance came at the death when Luiz marred an excellent display by naively tripping Dempsey.
But Cech intervened to leave Chelsea two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, while Fulham go four points clear of the relegation zone in 12th.
Torres began in his favoured lone striker's role but the first Chelsea chances fell to Florent Malouda, whose fizzing drive flew just over, and England midfielder Frank Lampard, whose shot on the turn just cleared the crossbar.
Torres sparked into life in the final two minutes of the half, but his control let him down on two occasions as he bore down on goal.
Firstly, he ran on to a header by Brazil midfielder Ramires but could only stretch to toe-poke towards Schwarzer.
A minute later, Torres pounced on a fabulous long pass by fellow deadline-day signing Luiz, who made an assured first start aside from his late foul on Dempsey, but allowed the ball to squirm away from him as he was about to take aim.
Torres, the world's fourth most expensive player, then headed over from a decent position following a searching cross by Ramires two minutes after the break.
At that stage, Chelsea were dominating midfield and looking like the only side capable of breaking the deadlock. They were denied what appeared a clear penalty when Brede Hangeland got away with barging into the back of Malouda.
An unmarked Luiz headed a corner over from eight yards, before Drogba came on in the 71st for Torres, who lasted five minutes longer than in his Chelsea debut.
Michael Essien and Ramires went close for the visitors, while Cech saved from Dempsey in a rare attack at the other end.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies