It was not a comeback of Manchester United proportions, but in securing a draw after falling behind at home, Fulham emerged with much of the credit.
And for two sides with deep cosmopolitan roots these days, it was an English striker, Barry Hayles, who had been preferred to record signing Steve Marlet in the starting line-up, who swung the game with the equaliser.
Chelsea, in contrast, not only threw away a lead given them by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's sharp finishing for the second consecutive Premiership game.
They also had to survive the final eight minutes with just 10 men after midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic was sent off for his second bookable offence.
Fulham failed to take full advantage but after so far beating only Sunderland in the Premiership, they showed they are slowly, but definitely surely, catching up Chelsea.
The home side had history against them, having won just two of their previous 22 top-flight clashes, although the most recent such encounter was more than 30 years ago.
As well as picking Hayles, however, Tigana significantly opted for a predominantly British line-up for what proved to be a predictably high-tempo game.
Claudio Ranieri started with just one English player, John Terry, but recognised the need for battling qualities by shifting Marcel Desailly into the midfield holding role he used to adopt at AC Milan.
Winger Boudewijn Zenden was in an altered role, playing behind the front two, but it was the Blues who still made the first impression as Hasselbaink struck the crossbar with an instinctive half-volley on the turn.
Fulham were undaunted and responded with a crisp, one-touch passing game, allied to Steve Finnan hurtling down the right flank, with one cross headed just wide by Louis Saha.
Indeed, it was not until Ranieri switched tactics, moving Desailly to the heart of a back-three, that the visitors started to impose themselves.
That gave them width as both wing-backs pushed forward, while Gianfranco Zola also found the room to orchestrate their moves.
Edwin van der Sar tipped a drive by the Italian around the upright after a neat through-ball by Jokanovic, while Celestine Babayaro headed past the far post.
But there was no denying Chelsea on 33 minutes as Zola flicked the ball into Zenden's path on the counter-attack.
He crossed for Hasselbaink, who still had the composure to steady himself as he waited for van der Sar to commit himself before picking his spot.
Zola himself was only denied by a diving save from van der Sar but Fulham, for whom John Collins had come close with a curling free-kick, were a much different prospect in the second-half.
Luis Boa Morte, a replacement for Bjarne Goldbaek, provided a much-needed injection of pace but it was Finnan who provided the cross from which Saha struck the upright with his header.
Hayles was nevertheless the first to react, sliding his shot past de Goey to equalise, and only the Dutchman's reactions prevented Boa Morte from putting the home side ahead soon afterwards.
Fulham were now bursting with energy. Dominant in central midfield for possibly the first time in the game, they were attacking with a purpose and conviction they had previously lacked.
Chelsea threatened briefly, with van der Sar blocking Zenden's shot with his legs, but Fulham otherwise pressed for victory late on and their cause was aided when Jokanovic was sent off with eight minutes left.
Chelsea complained bitterly about the decision by referee Graham Poll, with the midfielder seeming to throw the ball away after falling on top of it following what seemed to be an innocuous challenge.
They still held on for a draw, but the honours nevertheless went to Fulham thanks to Hayles, a striker who came through the game very much the hard, rather than high-profile, way.