At the end of a tumultuous weekend in north London, Tottenham Hotspur had a golden chance to emphasise the shift in power in their rivalry with Arsenal. They blew it.
As Arsenal tried to come to terms with the impending exit of Arsene Wenger and the task of forcing their way back into the elite of the Premier League, Spurs seemed poised to move closer to winning their first trophy for a decade.
Instead, a dispiritingly familiar narrative played out for Spurs fans in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley. Close but no cigar. For the eighth time in eight successive FA Cup semis, they failed to get the job done.
Mauricio Pochettino watched on as Tottenham lost their eighth consecutive FA Cup semi-finaliPhone transfer software
Harry Kane had a very quiet game and will end another season without winning a major trophy
And so this fine side built by this fine manager, Mauricio Pochettino, this team that we acclaim for the style of its football and the ambition of its play will go another season without winning a trophy. There is a danger that its moment is passing.
Spurs are still progressing and it was imperative that they finished in the top four to ensure they hosted Champions League football at their new stadium next season. That objective is within sight but there are more and more questions to be asked about this team's ability to come through when everything is on the line.
They are not getting any closer to winning the title. They have finished fifth, third and second in Pochettino's three full seasons in charge and are likely to be fourth this season but it is now 27 years since they won the FA Cup. Their last trophy was the League Cup, then the Carling Cup, which they won in 2008.
The most worrying question for Spurs fans is whether results like this 2-1 defeat against a United team that has been criticised for the dourness of its play this season will encourage vultures to circle around the team's star assets like Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
Pochettino may say that the FA Cup is no longer germane to Spurs' ambitions but the best players want trophies and they only hang around so long when the cabinet stays empty, particularly when they know that their chairman, Daniel Levy, is earning a king's ransom but often pays his players less than they could earn at Spurs' rivals.
If players are playing for less money, they need compensations. Medals are a compensation but medals keep slipping away. Spurs might be a better footballing side than United but United deserved this victory. They had the will and the confidence to win. When the moment was there for Spurs, when they took the lead in the first half and tore United to shreds, they turned their backs on it.
Dele Alli slid in to fire Tottenham into the lead after 11 minutes with his 13th goal of the season
As Alli celebrated he was congratulated by Christian Eriksen (left) who had made the assist
Spurs were in front for less than 15 minutes before Alexis Sanchez (left) headed in an equaliser
Former Cup winner Sanchez maintained his fine record of scoring goals at Wembley Stadium
Sometimes Spurs look unbeatable. They are capable of sweeping moves of scintillating brilliance, like the one that led to the opening goal. A driven pass of ambition and perfect execution from